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SEP 30- OCT 07, 2014

Governor Debate in Buffalo: Green Party's Hawkins Wants More Debates, Cites Jesse Ventura's seven debates and upset victory

September 30, 2014

Hawkins wants the public to understand the candidates through numerous debates.

After months of being challenged to debate by his Republican and Green party opponents, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has accepted two invitations to debate in October.

A one-on-one debate between Cuomo and his Republican opponent Rob Astorino will be held in New York City, sponsored by NYC public radio, WNYC, and the Wall Street Journal.

A second debate, in Buffalo, will feature Cuomo and Astorino and Libertarian candidate Michael McDermott and Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins. That debate is sponsored by The Buffalo News and WNED-WBFO.

Exact dates have not been announced.

Hawkins said this past weekend that while he is looking forward to participating in a debate in Buffalo, he should have been included in both debates, adding that all debates should be open to all candidates on the ballot and that two debates are insufficient.

"The law should be changed so that if you want to run for office in New York State, you have to agree to participate in a series of public debates with all candidates who meet the legal requirements to be on the ballot," said Hawkins.

Hawkins noted that after Reform Party Candidate Jesse Ventura's first debate in Minnesota in 1998, his support doubled, and after seven more open debates, he was elected governor.

Hawkins' poll numbers have increased since he polled 4 percent in June in the first poll that included him. Polls released the week of Sept. 22 show Hawkins at 9 percent (Marist) and 7 percent (Siena) statewide. At 9 percent, Hawkins is polling better than Ventura was before his debates were held.

Meantime, two polls came out last week that brought mildly good news for Astorino. Both a New York Times/CBS poll and a Rasmussen poll showed Cuomo' support at under 50 percent..

The Rasmussen poll shows that Astorino has cut Cuomo's lead in half over the last several weeks. And Cuomo's lead drops to only 47-37 among those who say they are "certain to vote".

Astorino is up 3 points with men (43/40), and up two points with independents (39/37). Meanwhile Cuomo's unfavorable rating rose to 1 percent.

Still, overall the gap is large- most say insurmountable. The Rasmussen poll shows Astorino at 32 percent compared to Cuomo's 49 percent. The New York Times/CBS poll shows Cuomo at 46 percent and Astorino at 24 percent.





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