After a brief period of gauging the public’s response to a Governor Miranda, award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon made her candidacy as a primary challenger to Governor Andrew Cuomo official.
On Monday, her slick campaign website with a logo touting Cynthia for New York was launched, followed by a press conference in Brooklyn the next day. What came next was that former mayoral candidate and fellow high-profile lesbian Christine Quinn criticized Nixon (who supported Quinn’s opponent, Bill de Blasio in 2013) as being unqualified. While it may have just come off as being a bitter taunt from a losing candidate, Quinn does have a point.
Other than her activism for equality in education and LGBT rights, the Broadway veteran known best for her role on TV’s “Sex and the City,” is a political outsider. We know, we know, this wasn’t a problem for our president, whose reality TV history obviously helped him rather than hurt him. However, in New York, the races for local office can get pretty competitive and governor is a pretty high-reaching role for someone who’s never served in a public capacity.
That being said, Cuomo has faced a serious challenger before in a political newcomer and that candidate, Zephyr Teachout, did pretty well, securing 34 percent of the vote. Could Nixon do even better, considering she’s already starting out with legions of fangirls all old enough to vote? Could the Me Too era help in propelling a woman candidate to becoming one of the three men in a room? Could her alliance with Mayor de Blasio give her access to his deep-pocketed donors? It’s all likely enough that we surely can’t blame her for throwing her hat in the ring against a governor who can boast some real successes like gay marriage and minimum wage increases. He’d also of course claim extending the rent laws was a success.
Like Teachout before her, Nixon claims to be more progressive than Cuomo, who critics say has done too little to advance his own party, including by not taking a firmer stance on strengthening rent regulations.
We have yet to hear Nixon’s views on the rent laws. We reached out to the campaign to ask but did not hear back. We also of course still do now know if this campaign is just a well-financed and publicized attempt to get Cuomo to veer more towards the left and remember his downstate constituents. But whether Nixon’s in it to win it or just grow a bigger crowd around her activism soapbox, Cuomo is smart enough to know he’s got a problem and this race just got way more interesting for it.