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Gov. Cuomo, Cynthia Nixon to debate at Hofstra University

The debate, set for Hofstra University, is two weeks before the Democratic primary.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Westbury on April

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Westbury on April 27, and Cynthia Nixon in Brooklyn on March 28. Photo Credit: Composite photo; Howard Schnapp, left, and Corey Sipkin

Finally, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and challenger Cynthia Nixon will square off in a televised debate, set for Hofstra University on Aug. 29, two weeks before the Democratic primary.

Cuomo, who had rebuffed previous invitations, has agreed to participate in a debate hosted by WCBS, according to a statement issued Monday by Byron Brown, the Buffalo mayor and the chairman of the state Democratic Committee.

It would be held at Hofstra University before a live audience, a source said. 

"CBS has offered to host a gubernatorial debate on August 29th, an invitation which Governor Cuomo has accepted," Brown said in a statement.

Nixon had been chiding the incumbent for months for not agreeing to debate and had accepted previous similar offers from WABC-TV and NY-1.

Nixon accepted the debate invitation at Hofstra, even though her campaign was given no input on format, time or other terms, spokeswoman Rebecca Katz said.

"The result: a debate at Andrew Cuomo's chosen location and TV station, in his preferred format, with a favorable audience, and on a date in the last week of August when a minimum of New Yorkers will be watching," Katz said, adding: "Cynthia will debate Governor Cuomo backwards and in high heels if she has to."

This will be the first one-on-one debate Cuomo has had in 12 years. He didn’t debate Zephyr Teachout, his challenger in a Democratic primary in 2014.

In the general election campaigns of 2014 and 2010, he wouldn’t debate the Republican nominees head-on, but agreed to participate in forums that included several minor-party candidates.

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