ALBANY -- Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins said he’s seeking a growing liberal vote for governor and points to a recent poll that shows he may be getting some traction.
A poll by upstate WWNY-TV/7 and Siena College last week of the 21st Congressional District in northern New York reported Hawkins would get 12 percent of the vote for governor among those polled.
Minor party candidates rarely rise above the single digits.
In that poll, Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo would win with 44 percent of the vote to 35 percent for Republican candidate Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive.
Hawkins, a Syracuse trucking worker, said this shows he is a viable candidate. He is trying to build on that liberal base by seeking the voters who gave Zephyr Teachout nearly 40 percent of the Democratic primary vote last week against Cuomo. Teachout, a Fordham law professor, said she hasn’t yet decided who she will endorse for governor in the general election in November.
Hawkins in an Albany news conference said the poll proves he should be part of any debate among candidates for governor. Cuomo had refused to debate Teachout, but said he expects to debate Astorino. No dates have been set.
Astorino had said he wanted only a one-on-one debate against Cuomo to underscore the differences between the two candidates who have a chance of winning.
“This is a progressive state and the progressive voice ought to be in debates,” Hawkins said. Hawkins is opposed to drilling for natural gas upstate and wants the state to commit to an energy plan with more renewable energy including solar, wind and tidal power.
The Cuomo campaign declined to comment. Cuomo has declined to make a decision on whether to authorize to gas drilling called hydrofracking which is opposed by environmentalists in his base. He said he is awaiting more study.
In the poll, Cuomo was favored by 62 percent of the voters who identified themselves as liberal, compared to Hawkins’ 22 percent.
The poll questioned 591 likely voters Sept. 4-9 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.