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NY Democratic gubernatorial candidates square off in a debate

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(Photo: CBS2/Hofstra University)

LONG ISLAND, NY (WHAM) - In two weeks, New York Gubernatorial candidates will go head to head in the Democratic Primary. Governor Andrew Cuomo is seeking a third term. Meanwhile, Cynthia Nixon is running for the first time.

The governor took jabs at Nixon's acting career and she knocked his record. Nixon accused the governor of letting New Yorkers down.

Both of the candidates are claiming they are the progressive candidate.

During Wednesday night's debate, the only one planned before the primary, most of the questions focused on issues around New York City with little mention of upstate.

Both candidates were strong in their stance and direct with their responses.

"I'm not an Albany insider like Governor Cuomo. I think experience doesn't mean much if you're not good at governing," said Nixon.

New York Democratic Gubernatorial candidates wasted no time taking jabs at one another during the debate.

"My opponent lives in the world of fiction; I live in the world of fact," said Governor Cuomo.

Two-term incumbent Governor Cuomo is promising to serve out his term if elected again. He shut down rumors of a presidential run in 2020.

"The only caviat is if God strikes me dead; otherwise I will serve the four years," he said.

His opponent is calling on him to clean up corruption in Albany. "Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has received $16 million from the LLC loophole," Nixon added.

The governor followed up by laying out his long term plan.

"No outside income - period, full financial disclosure, and campaign finance reform because we have to take the money out of politics," he said.

The hour-long debate was held in Long Island, heating up and, at times, it was hard to know who was saying what.

One such exchange:

Cuomo: "Can you stop interrupting me?"

Nixon: "Can you stop lying?"

Cuomo: "As soon as you do."

They both agreed that health care is a human right. However, they disagreed on the funding to back it up.

"It would be taken out of people's payrolls. It would be an overall saving for 98 percent of New Yorkers," said Nixon.

"Where do we get the $200 million, short-term, which would double the tax burden?" Cuomo responded.

In a statement, Republican candidate Marc Molinaro said, "Most disappointing, both candidates almost completely ignored the challenges facing Long Island and upstate New Yorkers. It was as if they were running for Mayor of New York City against Donald Trump."

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins said in a statement, “While I strongly advocate for a much stronger rent control program, with control by local communities, we also need a major expansion of quality, affordable public housing. they treated the mass transit crisis as a debating point, not a crisis needing a near-term solution."

Independent candidate Stephanie Miner issued a statement which read, in part, "It was particularly disappointing that the single debate didn’t feature any questions about Upstate job creation or the failure of the governor’s economic development programs. One million New Yorkers have left the state since 2010. Upstate job growth is anemic compared to New York City and the rest of the country. The governor’s signature job-creation programs have been mired in corruption. Voters deserved to hear Cuomo address these shortcomings, as well as hear what Nixon brings to the table."

Both Democratic candidates agree on legalizing marijuana. They also attacked each other's ideas when it comes to updating mass transit in New York City. As of now there aren't any other plans for another debate. The primary is on September 13.

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