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Cynthia Nixon battles Andrew Cuomo over ‘sexist’ debate hall temperature

August 28, 2018

A top strategist for New York gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon has accused organizers of an upcoming debate of catering to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s every demand after her request to keep the university hall at 76 degrees went unanswered.

In an email to debate organizer WCBS-TV, obtained by The New York Times, Nixon campaign strategist Rebecca Katz asked that the debate hall at Hofstra University on Long Island be warmed to 76 degrees.

Working conditions are “notoriously sexist when it comes to room temperature, so we just want to make sure we’re all on the same page here,” Ms. Katz reportedly wrote.

She also complained to The Times that the one-on-one debate, set for Wednesday, would adhere to “Cuomo’s preferred style of press conference” and would dispense of the opening handshake between the two Democrats.

“This time we were finally given the opportunity to debate but only by his rules, including no handshake,” Ms. Katz said.

She said Tuesday that she had yet to hear back from WCBS-TV regarding the room temperature. The station declined to comment for The Times’ story.

The campaign for Mr. Cuomo, who is known for requesting low temperatures for his appearances, said it was unaware of what temperature the debate hall would be.

Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for Mr. Cuomo, dismissed Ms. Katz’s comments as “silly.”

“The Nixon campaign thrives on paranoia and melodrama, and these silly accusations are more of the same,” she said in a statement. “They can debate about debates, but the governor is focused on having a substantive, in-depth discussion about the issues facing New York.”

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