NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Governor Andrew Cuomo and his Republican challenger Marc Molinaro will debate each other on CBS2 Tuesday.

The debate about debates is finally over. Cuomo and Molinaro are ready to rumble.

“On behalf of the 19 million New Yorkers who deserve answers… I happily accept the CBS debate,” Molinaro said.

The debate is sponsored by CBS2 and WCBS News Radio 880 Tuesday. Both men will be questioned about a wide range of issues important to New Yorkers, including fixing both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Long Island Rail Road.

The mano-a-mano face off came after Cuomo, a deep-pocketed incumbent with a 23-point lead in the polls and little inclination to give his opponent any exposure, relented during a routine call to WCBS News Radio 880. He said he would debate Molinaro Saturday at 8 a.m. on the radio, a proposal Molinaro immediately nixed.

“The governor had absolutely no desire to debate me. Whether it was fear or arrogance, I don’t know that either is becoming of the chief elected officer of the state of New York,” Molinaro said.

Both men agreed when television was added to the mix.

SEE: Full coverage of Campaign 2018

“After days of ducking the debate, we’re glad Marc Molinaro has finally agreed. See you tomorrow,” Cuomo spokesperson Dani Lever said.

Molinaro lamented that the face-off was happening with such short notice for voters, adding other governors readily debate their challengers.

“There are governors who are well ahead of their opponents in other states that absolutely debate their opponents without hesitation, but not this one because he’s either afraid to defend his record or he’s just too arrogant to believe that he is to be questioned,” Molinaro said.

The debate is Cuomo’s first ever face-off with a general election opponent as governor. He debated primary opponent Cynthia Nixon before the Democratic primary this year.

Molinaro said he’s not worried about facing the more experienced two-term governor, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

“I’m comfortable on my feet and certainly able to make a case for myself,” Molinaro said. “It’s also an opportunity to hold the governor accountable.”

The debate comes two weeks to the day before voters go to the polls. The two will be questioned by Kramer and WCBS News Radio 880’s Rich Lamb.

You can watch the debate Tuesday at 7 p.m. on CBS2. We will also stream the debate on and on our Facebook page.

Comments (9)
  1. Alicia Suzanne says:

    CBS is “not including third party candidates in the debate because third and fourth party candidates are not making headway or progress in the race”. This is absolutely false, and once again, the media is dictating the path of politics. Stop furthering the idea that there are only two options in this race. The majority of Americans, and likely New Yorkers, consider themselves Independent; not tied to red or blue. Allow the third party candidates to debate, and then see what the polls say.

  2. Jim Turcotte Jr. says:

    The “debate about debates” is hardly over. CBS has been donating to Cuomo for years, and now they want us to think this is anything but a Cuomo commercial that’s formatted to LOOK like a debate, while shutting out three people with enough support to be on the ballot.

    “No headway”? Larry Sharpe has made more headway in this campaign than the two so-called “major candidates” combined. Sharpe has been to each of the 62 counties in New York in a little over a year. Can Cuomo say the same for himself after eight years in office, or Molinaro in his two decades of “public service”?

    Nobody should be fooled by this smoke-and-mirrors act from CBS.

  3. Deb Lane says:

    For any New Yorker to make a decision all Party’s should be there not just the one King Coumo thinks he can beat!!Third Party just may steal this and win!! Larry Sharpe has a lot of good ideas. A change is needed in NY and Larry is that change!!

  4. Frank Lerario says:

    Sharpe should be included in the debate. It seems as if they fear him.

  5. fogcitycory says:

    New York has five gubernatorial candidates. They should all be included in the public debate. Not including all candidates, or even a rising third party candidate, is a disservice to all New Yorkers.

    Also, saying they will talk about a wide range of issues including one from NYC and one from Long Island shows just how little the rest of the state matters to you. While the majority of the state’s population is in the NYC area, there are many, MANY people outside of that area who matter.

  6. Stephen Morganstern says:

    Not even a mention of all of the candidates left out of the debate? Having only 2 of the 5 candidates debate is a terrible disservice to the voters of NY. Why was Larry Sharpe not invited? Hawkins? Miner? Both Cuomo and Molinaro are employing a campaign tactic that relies on voter ignorance. Shame on CBS2 New York for keeping voters in the dark by not allowing all candidates to participate.

  7. Glenn Tamir says:

    Why would I watch a debate when you are not including someone polling as well as Larry Sharpe? I will only watch if he is included and shame on you if you do not include him. You call yourselves a News Network????

  8. Chris Kelly says:

    NY wants to hear Larry Sharpe – the ship has sailed with these two. Please listen to what the people of NY are practically begging for.

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