Riley, Molinaro yet to agree to debates in 19th Congressional District race


(Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

Democratic Congressional Candidate Josh Riley appeared with Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, as she visited Ithaca Sunday. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

With almost six weeks to go before Election Day, both candidates in the battleground 19th Congressional District race have yet to agree to a debate. The district stretches from Ithaca to the Hudson Valley. 

Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro told WSKG on Friday that he’s agreed to a debate hosted by Spectrum News and two forums, one with the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce and the other with the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce. Molinaro was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last month.

Molinaro did not agree to debate on WSKG News and Television in a joint production with the League of Women Voters of Broome and Tioga Counties, as well as several other organizations.

“I’m guessing it’s just scheduling issues, but three debates seems like a reasonable number to have across a district this size,” Molinaro said while campaigning in Cortland Friday.

Molinaro’s Democratic opponent, Josh Riley, had agreed to the WSKG debate, but has yet to confirm other appearances.

“I understood from yesterday that he had declined the WSKG debate which I had accepted. So, we’ll have to see what other invitations we have,” Riley told WSKG Sunday.

The 19th District is rated a tossup by Cook Political Report, as one of the most competitive races in the country.