Comptroller Candidates Agree: Distance Is the Best Policy on Gov's Race

There was no inter-party love lost last night during the New York State comptroller debate when the two political rivals revealed they had the same policy on the governor's race: Stay out of it.

At the New York State Comptroller Debate at Pace University Monday night, Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli refused to discuss his thoughts on wannabe governor Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the gubernatorial frontrunner’s unwillingness to endorse him.

And Republican challenger Harry Wilson continued to avoid sweet-talking -- or any talking -- about Cuomo’s Republican rival, Carl Paladino.

“I think people misunderstood my position,” Wilson explained about his statement that he hasn’t endorsed the reputedly hot-headed Republican candidate because he wants to separate himself from politics. “I’m not trying to distance myself from Mr. Paladino or anybody else. ... I’m trying to assert my independence as comptroller.”

Wilson said his “no endorsement” policy goes both ways.

“I actually haven’t sought any. ... I’ve tried to stay away from endorsements,” he told Niteside, but made sure to mention Mayor Bloomberg has recommended him to voters.

DiNapoli also played down the importance of political handshaking when NY1 panelist Grace Rauh brought up Cuomo’s cold shoulder to the comptroller while he is investigating the office in relation to corruption charges against DiNapoli’s predecessor, Alan Hevesi.

“We've reached the years where there are a lot of non-endorsements on both sides of the aisle. I’m not running to be a comptroller for the governor for the state of New York, or for the legislature. I’m running to be a comptroller of the people,” DiNapoli said.

After the debate, DiNapoli dodged the question on whether or not he has spoken to the Attorney General about an endorsement.

“My focus is on getting elected on Nov. 7,” he said, reiterating that he thinks the endorsement issue is overplayed by the media. “I’m running with Andrew Cuomo on the Democratic party line, that’s the team I am a part of.”

For about an hour, the two major candidates went head-to-head on who is best for the office that audits government agencies and oversees state pension funds. The debate was aired live hosted by NY1 and YNN and was cosponsored by the Citizens Union.

DiNapoli continually blamed Wilson for “wizardry” on Wall Street. Wilson, who has never held public office and, according to a spokesperson, hasn’t debated since college, labeled DiNapoli as a “creature of Albany.” No broomsticks or magic spells were involved.

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