Cuomo holds off challenge from Nixon in NY Democratic governor's raceBy Jonathan Allen
September 13. 2018 11:15PM
NEW YORK — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday turned back an aggressive challenge from actress and activist Cynthia Nixon in the race for the Democratic nomination for November’s general election.
The New York Times and Associated Press called the race for Cuomo, who held a two-to-one lead on Nixon after a bitter race that saw Cuomo spend about $18 million.
The win makes Cuomo, who is seeking his third term, the heavy favorite headed into the Nov. 6 election against Republican Marc Molinaro. Nixon ran on issues like voting reforms and fixing New York City’s subways, and accused Cuomo of poor governance.
Left-wing candidates have rung up a series of victories in nominating contests, with more liberal candidates being nominated in governor’s races in Georgia and Florida. But knocking off incumbent governors is harder, and Nixon was unable to repeat the success others have had.
Earlier this campaign season, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley both upset long-serving Democratic incumbent congressmen in nominating races in New York and Massachusetts, promising more vigorous liberal policies and highlighting their opposition to Republican President Donald Trump.
It was the latest attempt by candidates from the party’s energized left wing to gain a further hold on the Democratic party as Democrats seek to regain control of the U.S. Congress and bolster their ranks in state governments across the country in the Nov. 6 elections.
This is the second consecutive challenge from the left Cuomo has fended off. In 2014, he defeated law professor Zephyr Teachout, who was trailing in her run for the Democratic nomination for state attorney on Thursday.
Cuomo, 60, controls the party’s state machinery and secured endorsements from members of the party establishment, but has drawn ire from left-wing activists in the state who believe he has been too willing to negotiate with state Senate Republicans, blocking liberal priorities like voting rights reform.
He supported a group of Democratic state senators who decided years ago to caucus with the Republicans, handing them control of that chamber. Several of those Democrats looked headed for defeat in primary challenges on Thursday as well.
Nixon is best known for her role on HBO’s “Sex and the City” and was seeking office for the first time. She had trailed in polls by more than 30 points throughout the campaign.
At her campaign party in Brooklyn, supporters remained cautiously optimistic that her running mate, Jumaane Williams, might still pull off an upset victory in the lieutenant governor race, making for an unlikely ticket alongside Cuomo. He was trailing current lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul by a few percentage points with counting ongoing.
“I think a lot of voters were more comfortable sticking with the politics that they know,” said Erica Vladimer, a 31-year-old lawyer from Manhattan. “They’re more comfortable going with someone with experience rather than recognizing a grass-roots activist may also be as good or better when it comes to governing.” (Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Peter Cooney and Muralikumar Anantharamana)