In Depth

Why Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon is running for New York governor

Democrat incumbent Andrew Cuomo facing primary challenge from actor

Activist and actor Cynthia Nixon is challenging sitting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary today ahead of the US midterms.

The star - best known for playing Miranda in HBO’s hit TV show Sex And The City - has “rallied the leftmost parts of the Democratic base, echoing a familiar, nationwide rallying cry of underdog candidates who have run to the left of entrenched Democratic politicians this election cycle”, says the CNBC news site.

Nixon “has been painting Cuomo as a moneyed, corrupt insider who has drained New York schools and infrastructure systems of their money in favour of tax cuts for the wealthy”, says Vox. She is still polling behind Cuomo but “might do well enough to ruin his dreams of a presidential bid - or even defeat him in the process”, adds the site.

What are her policies?

Native New Yorker Nixon launched her campaign in March, promising to fix the city’s dilapidated subway system. Since then she has “tacked far to the left, endorsing ideas such as legalising recreational marijuana and abolishing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement”, says CBS News.

The 52-year-old “has been positioning herself as a much more progressive candidate, promising to expand the electorate”, agrees NPR.

Through a progressive platform “that calls for higher taxes on the rich and a sharp, two-fold increase in spending, Nixon has managed to place reformist pressure on the more centrist governor, who has not satisfied the far-left minority rallying behind the Sex and the City star”, says CNBC.

Will she win?

On the eve of the election, Cuomo “seemed to be avoiding the media, failing to alert the press to rallies in Westchester, the Bronx and Manhattan”, reports New York magazine.

“The fact that he seems to be in hiding the day before the election - yeah, I think he’s running scared,” Nixon said during a campaign event at a Bronx school on Wednesday. “He’s made some really bad mistakes in the last few days.”

Meanwhile, insiders in the Cuomo campaign and other sources close to the governor told Politico that Nixon “is a flawed candidate who ran a flawed campaign - a white, wealthy progressive woman who will have a hard time winning without the support of a majority of New York's black female voters”.

Another of Cuomo’s campaign operative put it more bluntly: “If Cynthia Nixon were black, I think Andrew Cuomo would be in a lot of trouble.”

As it is, while Nixon may have Cuomo rattled, “it appears he has little to worry about in the vote, where the latest poll has him beating Nixon by 41 points”, says New York magazine.

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