Cuomo beats Cynthia Nixon in governorship primary
New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, has beaten off a leftwing challenge from Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary to win a nomination for a third term.
Nixon, an actor and activist known for her role on Sex and the City, sought to join the wave of insurgent progressives who have pulled off upsets in Democratic races, but in the end came up short in Thursday’s contest.
With 93% of precincts reporting, Cuomo had 65% of the vote against Nixon’s 35%.
“This race for the Democratic nomination may be over, but the fight for the soul of the Democratic party is just beginning,” Nixon told supporters at Cafe Omar in Flatbush, Brooklyn, after calling Cuomo to concede.
Nixon hammered Cuomo as a “corrupt corporate Democrat” throughout the campaign and went after him over New York’s crumbling mass transit system, which the governor controls.
But Cuomo, son of the former New York Democratic governor Mario Cuomo, raised far more funds than his opponent and highlighted her lack of experience. Nixon has never held political office and chose the state’s top job for her first run.
He pointed, too, to his accomplishments including raising the minimum wage, passing gun control laws and legalising same-sex marriage.
Cuomo did not appear at a victory party held by his supporters in Manhattan.
Nixon said the result was “not what we had hoped for” but added that she was “not discouraged”.
“In our campaign, we took on one of the most powerful governors in America, and it wasn’t easy,” she said. “We started with nothing, and we earned every single vote.”
The race appeared to push Cuomo to the left on several issues: his administration moved toward legalising recreational marijuana, and he signed an order allowing paroled felons to vote.
Cuomo also made Donald Trump a central figure in the campaign – portraying himself as the best person to stand up to the president.
It did not always go smoothly: he drew fire for saying America “was never that great”, in a fumbled attack on the president’s slogan.
Nixon went further, pushing for single-payer healthcare, driving licences for undocumented immigrants, higher taxes on the rich, and a huge boost in education spending.
The race took on a sometimes bitter tone. At their only debate, as the two sparred over the deterioration of New York’s subways under the governor’s tenure, Cuomo barked at Nixon: “Can you stop interrupting?” She snapped back: “Can you stop lying?”
The contest even featured endorsements from the feuding rappers Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. After Minaj endorsed Cuomo and his slate, Cardi B threw her support behind Nixon
In November’s general election, Cuomo will face the Republican Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess county executive, and Stephanie Miner, the former Syracuse mayor, who is running as an independent.
▲ Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon before their only debate during the race for the Democratic nomination