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Post urges Hochul to say she will give plans to debate Zeldin “by the end of the week.”

With mail-in ballots about to be mailed and early voting just six weeks away, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday she needed a few more days before committing to debates against Republican challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin.

“It will all be settled by the end of this week,” Hochul said at a news conference Monday in Manhattan when asked by a Post reporter when she would agree to debates.

“We will have our busy schedule of debates, forums and events that we will be running, which will be published very soon. I know there’s a lot of interest, so thanks for asking,” Hochul insisted, while still not saying yes to pending invites from CBS-2 and PIX-11.

The Democratic incumbent has been bickering for weeks about when and where she might debate with Zeldin, after vaguely saying more than a month ago that she was willing to stand at least twice.

But she seems to be singing a different tune in recent days after The Post put her in a chicken suit for an editorial, four years after her disgraced predecessor, ex-gov. Andrew Cuomo eventually agreed to debate with his Republican opponent after similar treatment.

Zeldin has called for up to five debates in cities across the state in the past few weeks, beating the drum on the issue.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she will confirm her plans to debate GOP gubernatorial nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin by the end of this week.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said she will confirm her plans to debate GOP gubernatorial nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin by the end of this week.
Robert Mueller

“It’s September 19th and the absentee ballots are going out in 4 days but @KathyHochul has NOT taken any debate requests yet. She wants people to know where she stands AFTER they’ve voted, but that’s not how it works.” The Long Island Pole tweeted Monday morning.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are #ScaredyKat!” he added.

Political experts have said it makes sense for an incumbent like Hochul not to engage in debate — from an all-to-lose standpoint — given her sustained lead in the polls and huge fundraising advantage over Zeldin in a largely democratic state .

The Post called out Hochul for not discussing Zeldin after promising a month ago that she would.
The Post called out Hochul for not discussing Zeldin after promising a month ago that she would.

A televised debate offers the Long Island Republican a great chance to engage with voters while she gets Hochul’s feet on issues like her relative inaction on controversial bail reforms and alleged pay-to-play programs that donors to her campaign have been on since involved in taking office, holds in the fire.

Taxpayers paid $637 million to a rapid testing company tied to $300,000 in donations, even though other states were buying the same tests at much lower prices. Hochul’s team has denied wrongdoing.

But debates could become a double-edged sword for Zeldin, who showed uneven performances months ago when sparring with his main rivals.

Zeldin has called for up to five debates with Hochul.
Zeldin has called for up to five debates with Hochul.
Stefan Jeremiah for the New York Post

While he has lashed out at Hochul over the topic in recent weeks, she seems eager to fight back, highlighting his positions on abortion, gun control and the January 6 riot in the US Capitol, which is based on his votes against confirmation of 2020 election results from certain states followed.

“Zeldin should be careful what he wishes for,” political adviser Jake Dilemani recently told the Post.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/19/post-pushes-hochul-to-say-shell-give-plans-to-debate-zeldin-by-end-of-week/ Post urges Hochul to say she will give plans to debate Zeldin “by the end of the week.”

JACLYN DIAZ

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