Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Cynthia Nixon

Peter Haskell, Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

Venue Temperature An Issue Ahead Of Debate Between Cuomo, Nixon

August 28, 2018 - 3:08 pm

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, will meet for their first and only debate at Hofstra University on Wednesday – but a war of words has already broken out over the temperature of the venue where the debate will be held.

As Shane Goldmacher of the New York Times explained to WCBS 880’s Michael Wallace Tuesday, Cuomo is notorious for his preference for ice-cold rooms.

“There’s a joke among the press corps that as the temperature dips, you know the governor’s getting close. And much of the terms of this debate were set by the governor – who’s agreed to just this one debate – and CBS. And so Cynthia Nixon and her team are a little worried that the room’s going to be overly cold, and so they sent a message to CBS saying, ‘Hey, we want a 76-degree room,’ and noted that rooms are typically, quote, ‘Notoriously sexist’ when it comes to the room temperature,” Goldmacher said. “It’s not clear what temperature the debate will be tomorrow, but certainly, the pre-debate is pretty heated.”

As to the debate itself, the major themes are expected to be areas where Cuomo has been criticized – including the condition of the subway system, and the corruption convictions this year of people around Cuomo.

“He has had to speak to these issues a couple of times, but one of his top aides is headed to prison; a former senior economic adviser is also headed to prison,” Goldmacher said. “And he’s not just going to be asked a question or two by a reporter, but he’s going to have 60 minutes on stage with the person whose goal is to get under his skin asking about these issues.”

As it is, Nixon is behind Cuomo in the polls by a wide gap – though it is not clear who will actually turn out for the primary.

“This is an unusual election. It’s on a Thursday in September. There are never elections on a Thursday. And the concern amongst some supporters of the governor is like, who’s going to be out there, and whether the polls are going to reflect the people who turn out,” Goldmacher said. “That said, he has a huge lead in the polls. No poll has shown him under a 30-point margin ahead of her, and you have to say that this debate – the one debate – is her best chance to change that and to convince people that it’s time after two terms for a different person as governor.”