TOP TAKEAWAYS FROM THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE FOR GOVERNOR

For the first time this primary season, all three Democratic frontrunners in the race for New York governor shared a stage. Governor Kathy Hochul found herself on the defensive as Congressman Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams confronted the incumbent on guns, her support for the Buffalo Bills stadium deal, and her failed pick for lieutenant governor. But did their televised showdown do anything to shake up the race, which Hochul is favored to win? Joining us to break down the debate and what’s next is Dan Clark, host of New York NOW, WMHT’s award-winning public affairs program.

TRANSCRIPT

> I'M PROUD OF IT AS FIRST WOMAN GOVERNOR OF THIS STATE, TO SAY I'M BRINGING MY VALUES TO BEAR RIGHT NOW AND TO SEND A MESSAGE AROUND THIS NATION THAT NEW YORK WILL PROTECT ITS WOMEN.

WHEN IT CAME TO THE BUFFALO BILLS STADIUM, SHE GOT SOMETHING DONE NOBODY EVER GOT DONE, MOST LUCRATIVE DEAL IN HISTORY OF THE NFL, BUT WHEN IT CAME TO BAIL REFORM, SHE DIDN'T ENGAGE.

NEED TO GET MORE MONEY FOR PREVENTION, NOT A MILLIONAIRE TO GET A STADIUM OUTSIDE OF BUFFALO WHERE PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING.

THOSE ARE SOME OF THE KEY MOMENTS FROM THE GUBERNATORIAL DEBATE, FIRST TIME THEY SHARED A STAGE AHEAD OF THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY THREE WEEKS AWAY.

INCUMBENT KATHY HOCHUL FACED TOM SUOZZI AND JUMAANE WILLIAMS.

BOTH TRIED TO SCORE A BREAKOUT MOMENT.

CONFRONTED GOVERNOR ON PAST RECORD OF GUNS, SUPPORT FOR NEW BUFFALO STADIUM DEAL AND FAILED PICK FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR.

GOVERNOR HOCHUL EMPHASIZED SUPPORT FOR ABORTION RIGHTS AND TOUTED NEW GUN LEGISLATION JUST SIGNED INTO LAW.

JOINING US NOW TO ANALYZE THE DEBATE IS DAN CLARK, HOST OF WNHT, THANKS FOR JOINING US.

HAPPY TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

START WITH THE GOVERNOR'S PERFORMANCE HERE, IF YOU WILL.

SHE LEADS IN THE POLLS, LEADS IN TERMS OF MONEY RAISED, AND YET, AGAIN AS WE MENTIONED, THIS WAS FIRST TIME SHE HAS HAD THIS CONFRONTATION WITH HER CHALLENGERS.

TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK SHE NEEDED TO DO HERE AND HOW YOU THINK SHE DID IT.

YEAH, THIS WAS A REALLY INTERESTING NIGHT.

AS YOU SAID, FIRST TIME THAT ALL THREE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR SHARED THE STAGE TOGETHER.

GOVERNOR REALLY NEEDED TO DO LAST NIGHT WAS MAINTAIN.

WE'VE SEEN HER WITH A COMFORTABLE LEAD IN THE POLLS FOR THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS SINCE THE RACE STARTED.

SO THE GOVERNOR'S OBJECTIVE WAS TO MAINTAIN THAT LEAD, MAKE SURE SHE DIDN'T MAKE ANY MAJOR GAFFS, HELD HER POSITION STRONG, SPOKE CLEARLY AND THE AUDIENCE GOT A SENSE OF WHERE SHE STOOD ON MAJOR ISSUES.

I THINK SHE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT OF THAT.

PUSHED BACK WHEN SHE WAS ATTACKED, STOOD CLEAR ON POSITIONS ON GUNS AND RECENT ISSUES INCLUDING ABORTION, HOMELESSNESS IN THE SUBWAYS, THINGS LIKE THAT.

IN TERMS OF WHAT THE GOVERNOR WAS DOING, TRYING TO PROVE SHE SPENT LAST EIGHT MONTHS BEING EFFECTIVE LEADER FOR STATE OF NEW YORK.

AS YOU AND I REMEMBER, ANNOUNCED WITHIN DAYS OF TAKING OFFICE SHE WAS GOING TO SEEK A FULL TERM.

CAMPAIGN REALLY STARTED ALL THE WAY BACK THEN.

GOAL WAS TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE VOTING IN THE PRIMARY, THE DEMOCRATS, MADE SURE SHE WAS THEIR NOMINEE.

THE CHALLENGERS, THEY HAD A PREVIOUS DEBATE, THE TWO OF THEM.

GOVERNOR SAID WOULD PARTICIPATE IN JUST TWO DEBATES.

THEY HAD A PREVIOUS ONE, BOTH MR. SUOZZI AND MR. WILLIAMS, TO THE SURPRISE OF SOME IN THAT FIRST DEBATE DIDN'T REALLY GO AFTER EACH OTHER.

THEIR TARGET WAS THE GOVERNOR.

HOW DID WE SEE THIS PLAYING OUT IN THIS MOST RECENT DEBATE LAST NIGHT?

IT WAS A LOT OF THE SAME THING.

OBJECTIVE OF BOTH CONGRESSMAN SUOZZI AND PUBLIC ADVOCATE JUMAANE WILLIAMS WAS GO AFTER THE GOVERNOR AND HIGHLIGHT THEIR POSITIONS.

ELECTORATE IS NOT ALWAYS NEGATIVE, THEY WANT TO KNOW WHERE PEOPLE STAND.

SAW THEM GOING AFTER HOCHUL ON THINGS LIKE HER RECORD ON GUNS.

IN CONGRESS SHE HAD A FAVORABLE RATING FROM THE NRA, THEY BROUGHT THAT UP SEVERAL TIMES.

HAD BACKING THERE.

CONGRESSMAN SUOZZI REPEATING HE HAS AN 'F' FROM THE NRA ON GUNS THERE.

BROUGHT UP ISSUES FROM THE PAST, CAMPAIGN DONATIONS, CRYPTO INDUSTRY, CRYPTOCURRENCY HAS PUT A LOT OF MONEY INTO NEW YORK STATE POLITICS.

THEY TRIED TO DRAW A CONNECTION BETWEEN DONATIONS WITH HER AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR'S CAMPAIGN AND POSITION ON PAUSE ON CRYPTO MINING, A COMPLICATED ISSUE WE DON'T HAVE TO GET INTO.

GOAL WAS ATTACK THE GOVERNOR, MAINTAIN THEIR POSITIONS.

THEY REALLY CAME THROUGH ON THAT.

ABOUT A THIRD OF THE WAY INTO THE DEBATE, GOVERNOR FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM WAS SHAKEN FROM SOME RESPONSES FROM OPPONENTS.

QUICKLY PICKED IT UP IN SECOND HOUR OF THE DEBATE BUT IT WAS CLEAR THEY HAD BEEN EFFECTIVE IN SOME OF THE MESSAGING FOR SURE.

ONE OF THE ISSUES WE'VE SEEN, THIS WHOLE NOTION OF HOW IMPACTFUL DEBATES CAN BE.

AND AS YOU KNOW, HAVING COVERED THESE, CALL THEM DEBATES, THEY'RE NOT TRULY DEBATES.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE SAID THEY'RE EXTENDED PRESS CONFERENCES IN SOME WAYS.

BUT AS YOU LOOK AT THIS GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN, THE DEMOCRATIC PART RIGHT NOW, HOW IMPACTFUL DO YOU THINK THESE CAN REALLY BE IN TERMS OF AFFECTING THE ELECTORATE?

YOU KNOW, I THINK THEY CAN BE IMPACTFUL, BUT I THINK IN THE CASE OF A RACE FOR NEW YORK GOVERNOR, I DON'T THINK THEY WILL BE VERY IMPACTFUL.

WHY NOT, THAT'S INTERESTING.

TALK ABOUT RACE FOR PRESIDENT, EVERYBODY KNOWS IT'S HAPPENING.

ASK NEW YORKERS ON THE STREET IF THERE'S ELECTION FOR GOVERNOR THIS YEAR, MAY NOT BE ABLE TO TELL YOU, MAY NOT KNOW THE DEBATE IS GOING ON.

FOR THOSE WHO TUNE IN, THESE ARE REALLY IMPORTANT, ESPECIALLY THIS PARTICULAR ELECTION.

THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN POLLING FAR AHEAD OF OPPONENTS, THIS IS KEY MOMENT, ONE BIG CHANCE TO GET NAME AND POSITIONS OUT THERE TO SWING VOTES FOR HOCHUL OR UNDECIDED.

THING ABOUT THIS PRIMARY, WE HAVE POLLING IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FROM SIENA COLLEGE FROM A FEW MONTHS AGO, BUT HASN'T BEEN CONSISTENT, NOT IN LAST FEW WEEKS SINCE THE STATE BUDGET PASSED IN MARCH AND LOT OF CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES CAME UP LIKE THE BUFFALO BILLS STADIUM AND BAIL REFORM.

THINGS LIKE THAT.

IN THIS PARTICULAR RACE, I DON'T KNOW IF IT MOVES THE NEEDLE, ESPECIALLY IN PRIMARY WHERE WE'RE EXPECTING LOW VOTER TURNOUT TO THE POLLS.

BAIL REFORM A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE, WITH INCREASE IN CRIMES, NOT ALL CRIMES BUT SERIOUS CRIMES, VIOLENT CRIMES, SHOOTINGS.

WHAT DID YOU SEE IN TERMS OF BAIL REFORM?

CONGRESSMAN SUOZZI IN PARTICULAR HAS BEEN STRONG ON THE ISSUE SINCE HE STARTED HIS CAMPAIGN.

BAIL REFORM WAS PASSED IN 2019, TOOK EFFECT IN 2020 AND BEEN AMENDED A FEW TIMES.

KEY ISSUE IS MAKING SURE PEOPLE CHARGED WITH LOW LEVEL CRIMES MAYBE DON'T SIT IN JAIL FOR MONTHS OR YEARS BEFORE TRIAL.

THAT'S WHY LAW WAS AMENDED.

BUT SOME OF THESE PEOPLE HAVE COME OUT OF COURT, RELEASED AND COMMITTED MORE CRIMES.

THAT'S KEY ISSUE IN THE DEBATE.

CONGRESS SUOZZI SAYS JUDGES SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONSIDER SOMETHING CALLED DANGEROUSNESS, A SUBJECTIVE STANDARD TO DECIDE WHETHER THAT PERSON COULD COMMIT ANOTHER CRIME.

GOVERNOR DIDN'T WANT IT TO BE SUBJECTIVE.

THEY AMENDED IT BY LISTING MORE CRIMES THAT BAIL WOULD BE ELIGIBLE IN SITUATIONS LIKE HATE CRIMES.

WILLIAMS IS FURTHEST LEFT CANDIDATE, SUPPORTS BAIL REFORM IN ITS ENTIRETY AND DIDN'T SAY HE WANTED ROLLBACKS.

WIDE RANGE OF IDEAS FOR SURE.

CLIMATE AND CLIMATE CHANGE.

THAT BROUGHT IN A BIT OF CONVERSATION ABOUT CONGESTION PRICING IN THE NEW YORK CITY AREA.

GIVE US A SENSE OF WHAT WAS TALKED ABOUT THERE.

THAT'S INTERESTING, GOT A TIDBIT OF NEWS, GOVERNOR SAID THAT CONGESTION PRICING IN MANHATTAN WILL NOT START UNTIL END OF YEAR BECAUSE THE WHITE HOUSE HAS REQUESTED ADDITIONAL HURDLES BEFORE IT CAN TAKE EFFECT.

IT'S EXTRA TOLL IN AREAS OF MANHATTAN WHERE THE REVENUE COULD BE USED TO IMPROVE SERVICES.

CONGRESSMAN SUOZZI DOESN'T WANT IT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMY.

PEOPLE ARE STRUGGLING AND CAN'T AFFORD THE EXTRA TOLLS, HE SAID.

WOULDN'T WANT IT TO TAKE EFFECT.

PUBLIC ADVOCATE SAYING HE WANTED IT TO TAKE EFFECT IMMEDIATELY, CITING IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT.

PART OF CONGESTION PRICING IS ALSO TO REDUCE TRAFFIC IN MANHATTAN AND CARBON IMPACT IN THAT BOROUGH, WHICH WE KNOW IS TREMENDOUS.

MENTIONED THE NOTION THAT NOT EVERYBODY OUT THERE WHO IS POLITICALLY TUNED IN IS EVEN AWARE OF THE FACT THE PRIMARY IS COMING UP JUNE 28th.

WHO DOES THAT BENEFIT DO YOU THINK?

TALKING ABOUT INCUMBENT, TWO CHALLENGERS, INCUMBENT WHO DOES NOT HAVE A LONG RECORD BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES THAT BROUGHT HER INTO OFFICE.

WHO MIGHT BENEFIT FROM THAT LACK OF AWARENESS OF THIS?

DEFINITELY GOVERNOR HOCHUL.

WE KNOW FROM RESEARCH THAT INCUMBENTS ALMOST ALWAYS WIN RE-ELECTION RACES.

ISN'T NECESSARILY A RE-ELECTION FOR HER, SHE'S ONLY BEEN GOVERNOR SINCE LAST AUGUST, BUT IN TERMS OF WHO HAS MOST EXPOSURE, SHE'S HAD MONTHS TO USE BULLY PULPIT TO GET OUT ON ISSUES IMPORTANT TO NEW YORKERS.

HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO DELIVER A STATE OF THE STATE, STATE BUDGET ADDRESS AND NEGOTIATE A FINAL STATE BUDGET TO TUNE OF $220 BILLION.

SHE'S HAD EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO GET ON TELEVISION, IN PRINT, SOMETHING CALLED FREE MEDIA IN THESE CAMPAIGNS.

PUBLIC ADVOCATE HAS KIND OF THE SAME EXPOSURE BUT MORE FOCUSED IN NEW YORK CITY AND CONGRESSMAN SUOZZI HAS LESS, CONGRESS CARRIES POWER BUT DOESN'T HAVE THE EXPOSURE IN TERMS OF THE ISSUES HE WORKS ON IN CONGRESS.

BIG ON STATE AND LOCAL TAXES BUT PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY MAY NOT KNOW WHAT THAT IS.

IT'S MORE ISSUE IN SUBURBS AND SOME AREAS UPSTATE.

IT'S KEY ISSUE IN NEW YORK CITY AS WELL BUT CONGRESSMAN SUOZZI HAS THE CHALLENGE OF NAME RECOGNITION AND SAME WITH THE ADVOCATE.

HOCHUL, MORE HAVE HEARD OF HER NOW THAN NOT.

JUMP ACROSS THE AISLE.

NEXT WEEK WILL BE A DEBATE BETWEEN THE FOUR LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR, GIVE US A SYNOPSIS OF WHAT WE CAN EXPECT OUT OF THAT.

ABSOLUTELY.

THERE ARE FOUR REPUBLICANS RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR.

FRONTRUNNER IS THE PARTY FAVORITE, CONGRESSMAN FROM LONG ISLAND.

STILL HAS TO BE A PRIMARY BECAUSE THE OTHER CANDIDATES HAVE GATHERED PETITIONS.

FORMER COUNTY EXECUTIVE, TWO TERMS IN WESTCHESTER, DEEP BLUE STATE, SAID HE COULD REACH ACROSS THE AISLE MORE.

BLUE COUNTY, EXCUSE ME.

ANDREW GIULIANI HAS BEEN DOING WELL IN THE POLLS PARTLY BECAUSE OF NAME RECOGNITION.

REPUBLICANS KNOW WHO HE IS.

FOURTH IS HARRY WILSON, RAN FOR STATE CONTROLLER IN 2010, CAME CLOSER TO WINNING THAT THAN ANY OTHER REPUBLICAN HAS IN ANY STATE-WIDE RACE SINCE 2002.

HE'S A CONTENDER BUT JUMPED IN THE RACE LATE.

WE HAVE TO WATCH THE SAME THING AS DEMOCRATIC DEBATE, CAN THE OTHER REPUBLICANS BREAK THROUGH AND CHALLENGE ZELDIN FOR THE NOMINATION?

HE HAS THE PARTY'S BACKING, TREMENDOUS RESOURCES FROM COUNTY CHAIRS.

TV ADS FROM WILSON AND GIULIANI COULD PULL THROUGH FOR VOTERS AS WELL.

COULD BE A TOSS-UP BECAUSE OF GIULIANI'S NAME RECOGNITION.

WILL BE INTERESTING AS NEW YORK POLITICS IS ALWAYS.

HOST OF 'NEW YORK NOW,' THANKS FOR YOUR EXPERTISE, HELPED US UNDERSTAND THIS.

LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO YOU SOON.

TAKE CARE.

ANY TIME.

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