ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will participate in two debates ahead of the general election, after refusing to square off against his primary opponent.

Cuomo’s campaign said Saturday one proposed debate would feature Cuomo and Republican nominee Rob Astorino in New York City.

A second proposed debate in Buffalo will also include Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian party candidate Michael McDermott. Both will be held in mid-October. Exact dates are being worked out.

“This is more games from Andrew Cuomo.  Despite their claims, there have been no negotiations between the campaigns. We have called for at least one televised debate between the two major party candidates, as is custom in every election from President of the United States on down,” a spokesperson for Astorino said in a statement. “It’s clear Governor Cuomo is terrified to go one-on-one with County Executive Astorino on television. Is it because he doesn’t want people to see his face when he’s asked about his role in the Moreland corruption scandal? The people of New York deserve better.”

Cuomo’s campaign communications director Matt Wing says the governor is looking forward to robust discussions.

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller spoke with Marist College Poll Director Lee Miringoff, who said those they have spoken to want to see the two square-off.

“We saw that a plurality, the largest number, wanted to have two debates,” he said.

Miringoff said it is important to voters to see what each candidate has to offer.

“I think it’s a chance for the candidates to talk directly to each other and to respond to questions that the TV ads back and forth don’t provide,” he said.

Cuomo refused to debate his primary opponent, law professor Zephyr Teachout, which according to Miringoff, brought the governor some unwanted publicity. But the political pollster says the general election is different.

 

“Cuomo did not want to give Astorino a rallying cry that he was ducking debates,” Miringoff said.

As Miller reported, Astorino asked for eight debates before November’s election in order to address particular problems specific to different regions in the state.

Cuomo won the Democratic primary 62 percent to 34 percent.

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