New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and challenger Cynthia Nixon will face off in a highly-anticipated debate today at Hofstra University in Long Island, but the clash is already taking place off the stage. Citing sexism, an aide for Nixon has reportedly asked moderators to set the debate room’s temperature at 76 degrees.
In an email sent last week and recently obtained by The New York Times, Rebecca Katz, a senior strategist for Nixon, asked WCBS-TV, the local station that will moderate and air the debate, to adjust the temperature to 76 degrees. The Nixon campaign has previously accused the moderators of catering to the governor’s demands.
Cuomo is well-known for preferring that his public appearances are conducted in chilled rooms. Following his 2011 inauguration, The Times reported that the new governor insists on low temperatures for appearances, which often cause attendees to show up wearing scarves and winter hats.
On Tuesday, Katz said she had not yet heard back from WCBS-TV, adding that 76 degrees was just an opening offer to ensure the temperatures were not uncomfortably cold, The Times reported. The Cuomo campaign said it was unaware of what temperature the room would be. The station declined to comment.
Katz wrote that working conditions are “notoriously sexist when it comes to room temperature, so we just want to make sure we’re all on the same page here,” according to the email, as per The Times.
For the first time in 12 years, Gov. Cuomo agreed to a one-on-one primary debate—if we agreed to all of his requirements.
I will debate him backward and in high heels if I have to.
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) August 27, 2018
The one-hour event scheduled for Wednesday evening will mark Nixon’s first ever debate and Cuomo’s first one-on-one primary debate in more than a decade, the Washington Post reported.
In May, Nixon challenged Cuomo to multiple debates, but this one encounter is the only one he has agreed to, with barely two weeks before the primary.
“CBS management has acknowledged that the only way to get Governor Cuomo to show up is by giving him everything he wants,” Katz said in a statement when the debate was announced, as per the Post report. “We weren’t even given a seat at the table.”
This time around, Cuomo gave his challenger the opportunity to debate but only if Nixon abided by his rules, including no handshake, Katz said, according to The Times.
Nixon’s temperature request has re-ignited the age-old debate over air conditioning settings in professional environments. The phenomenon, which has been called, among other monikers, thermostat patriarchy, refers to the common practice of lowering temperatures in work officers to accommodate men in suits.
76 degrees is absurd unless you're a grandparent in Florida, but the thermostat patriarchy is real.
— Stephen Stirling (@SStirling) August 28, 2018