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Astorino Says Cuomo Prefers '1945' Radio Debate Format

County Executive Rob Astorino,shakes hands with state Senate candidate Terrence Murphy of Yorktown, left, at the Thornwood Diner.
County Executive Rob Astorino,shakes hands with state Senate candidate Terrence Murphy of Yorktown, left, at the Thornwood Diner. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- After making an endorsement in the State Senate District 40 race in Thornwood on Monday, County Executive Rob Astorino accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of continuing to duck televised debates.

Astorino, Cuomo's Republican Party challenger, said the Democratic governor agreed to appear at two debates this month, one hosted by The Buffalo News and a second co-sponsored by WNYC Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal -- without consulting the three other candidates for governor.

Although the first debate would be televised by Buffalo public television and aired by its radio partner WBFO, there's no guarantee it would be televised statewide.

That has left Astorino flummoxed.

"This is not 1945,'' Astorino said today of Cuomo's unilateral decision to favor a radio format. "He owes it to the people of New York."

"He wants to control everything,'' Astorino said.

But the Westchester County executive said he will not give up trying to secure a televised debate with Cuomo before Election Day. "We're talking to the media partners," Astorino said.

Astorino said the only explanation he can fathom for Cuomo being hesitant to face him in a statewide televised debate is that the governor is afraid to answer questions about an ongoing federal investigation of the former Moreland Commission, an ethics panel that Cuomo abruptly disbanded.

A spokesman for Cuomo's campaign was not available for comment.

Earlier, Astorino endorsed Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy for State Senate during a press conference at the Thornwood Diner.

"There are 29 days left,'' Astorino said. "A real important issue this year is who will control the New York State Senate. People are anxious. The economy is not good. We need a change in Albany. We also need to make sure we have a senator I can work with. I am very proud to support my friend, Dr. Terrence Murphy.''

"This endorsement means the world to me,'' Murphy said. "We see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues."

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