Nixon Campaign Complains About 'Sexist' Low Office Temperatures in Request for Warm Debate With Cuomo

Cynthia Nixon / Getty Images
August 28, 2018

A top strategist for New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon (D.) called work offices that are overly air-conditioned "sexist" in a request for balmier room temperatures for Wednesday's primary debate between Nixon and incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.).

After accusing the debate host, WCBS-TV, of being too acquiescent to Cuomo's demands ahead of the debate, Rebecca Katz called for the event hall at Hofstra University on Long Island to be 76 degrees, the New York Times reported. Katz wrote an email to the station, obtained by the Times, saying that 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."

Cuomo prefers cooler temperatures for speeches and events, the Times noted.

Ms. Katz said on Tuesday she had yet to hear back from WCBS-TV, and that 76 degrees was just an opening offer to ensure the temperatures were not uncomfortably cold. The Cuomo campaign said it was unaware of what temperature the room would be. The station declined to comment.

Back in May, Ms. Nixon challenged Mr. Cuomo to multiple debates but Mr. Cuomo has agreed to just this one encounter, with barely two weeks before the primary. "CBS was very frank with us that they really didn’t have a choice — that these were his demands and if they were not acceded to, he wouldn’t show up," Ms. Nixon said this month.

The debate is scheduled for one hour, with no opening or closing statements, according to people briefed on the format, with candidates given two minutes to answer questions and one minute for rebuttals.

The candidates will be seated at separate desks for the debate and there will be no opening handshake.

Nixon, an actress and activist with no prior political experience, is launching a longshot bid from the left to win the Democratic nomination for governor. Cuomo has high approval ratings among Democrats and has held a sizable lead over Nixon throughout the campaign.