Candidates For Governor Should Have More Debates

New Yorkers are ill-served by the political games that are inevitably played with gubernatorial debates.

Last week’s debate between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging Cuomo for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor, is just the latest example.

The camps could only agree to one debate, held during the afternoon at Hofstra University. Not surprisingly, the debate focused almost entirely on New York City issues while the candidates talked over each other, cut off each other’s sentences and lobbed accusations at each other. The debate may have made for entertaining television and political theatre, but it was a horrible way for Democrats to make up their minds about a candidate, particularly if those Democrats live outside of New York City.

Western New York and the rest of Upstate New York weren’t even a blip on the debate radar last week. That makes the debate a wasted opportunity for Nixon, an actress who has been involved in New York City issues but who needed to show Upstate voters she knows anything about life in more rural parts of the state. As we noted a couple of weeks ago, the governor has flaws, but area residents know from his visits here and the funding that makes its way from Albany to Chautauqua County that the governor can at least find rural New York on a map.

A state as large and diverse as New York deserves to have more than one debate before a statewide election. A candidate who can’t agree to at least three debates — one in each region of the state — has no business running in the first place.