Seven Candidates To Debate In NY Governor's Race

Democrat Andrew Cuomo is gaining a huge lead over Tea Party-backed Republican Carl Paladino in the race for New York governor ahead of their first debate on Monday evening, the latest poll showed.

Cuomo, the state attorney general, and Paladino, a Buffalo developer, join with five other candidates in the 90-minute debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

A new poll by The New York Times showed Cuomo with 59 percent support, compared with Paladino's 24 percent, among likely voters. The gap has been widening dramatically since last month, when one poll showed Cuomo just six points ahead of Paladino.

A mere 11 percent of voters had a favorable view of Paladino, according to the Times. It also found 59 percent of voters thought Paladino did not have the right temperament and personality to be a good governor.

Paladino has come under fire for comments, criticized as homophobic, in which he said did not want children ""brainwashed"" into thinking homosexuality was a valid option. He also called a gay pride parade ""disgusting.""

The Republican candidate got into a near fistfight with a New York Post reporter, a confrontation that was videotaped and circulated widely on the Internet. By comparison, 73 percent of voters felt Cuomo had the right temperament and personality to be governor, the poll found.

Cuomo, the son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton. He was elected New York Attorney General in 2006."