Minor-party candidates steal spotlight at gubernatorial debate

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During a live News 12/Newsday gubernatorial debate last night, all seven candidates squared off on the issues, but some of the minor-party hopefuls arguably stole the spotlight from the front-runners. Click "NEXT" for additional team coverage of the debate.

After weeks of going neck-and-neck, everyone expected Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino to dominate the debate. Instead, a former Manhattan madam linked to former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.) and a karate teacher running on the Rent Is 2 Damn High party line captivated the audience. The two front-runners, Cuomo and Paladino, largely played it safe and focused on the economy, talking about the state's high taxes. Neither candidate mentioned his opponent's name.Paladino ignored jabs by the minor-party candidates, instead focusing on trying to reshape his image."My critics say I'm angry," he said. "I'm not. I'm just passionate about New York."Within minutes of the debate ending, both Cuomo's and Paladino's camps were declaring victory. However, most viewers agreed that Paladino's inexperience in the political arena showed as he stumbled through some of his answers. Cuomo is currently leading Paladino by about 35 points, according to recent polls. Neither candidate agreed to take part in a second debate that will take place in upstate New York next week, but several of the minor-party candidates will be there. To view the entire debate, go to Channel 612 on your digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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