Paladino Avoid Personal Attacks In 7-Way New York Governor Debate

(Bloomberg) Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino, the frontrunners for governor of New York, appeared together for the first time in a debate with both vowing to reduce taxes, spending and corruption.

The Democrat and Republican avoided the personal attacks hurled in recent weeks as they appeared at Long Island’s Hofstra University with candidates including a woman who gained notoriety running a Manhattan escort service and the founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High party.

The field of seven reduced the sparring time between Cuomo, 52, the state’s Democratic state attorney general, and Republican Paladino, 64, a Buffalo-based real estate developer running with Tea Party support. Each said he was best able to shift the state’s direction toward fiscal solvency and economic stability.

The nation’s third most-populous state faces a projected $8.2 billion budget gap next year, just months after legislators closed a $9.2 billion deficit for the fiscal year that began April 1.

Paladino has promised to cut taxes 10 percent and reduce spending by 20 percent in his first year, and has also proposed two annual reductions of $7 billion in the state’s general fund. Paladino said he could achieve the changes he promised because his largely self-financed campaign owes no favors to special interests.