Astorino offers to debate Cuomo rival

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Spin Cycle

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said Wednesday if Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo won't debate Democrat primary foe Zephyr Teachout, he will.

Astorino, the Westchester County executive, said New Yorkers deserve a debate on the issues. So far, Cuomo has ignored calls for debates. Cuomo also has launched a lawsuit aimed at disqualifying Teachout, a Fordham University professor, from the Democrat primary.

"If Governor Cuomo won't debate his Democratic primary opponent Zephyr Teachout -- either because he's afraid to or he is unable to while under federal investigation for corruption, or both -- I will debate Professor Teachout," Astorino said in a statement, taking the unusual step of weighing in on the other party's primary. He referred to a federal probe of a now-shuttered Cuomo commission on public corruption.

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"New York is suffering under the highest taxes in the nation, the worst economic outlook and has the most corrupt state government," the Republican continued. "These are very serious issues that need to be discussed and debated. Voters need to hear proposed solutions."

Astorino has attacked Cuomo from the right; Teachout the left. Polls show the governor maintaining a big lead.

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