Cynthia Nixon has announced she will be running for governor following months of speculation.
The former Sex and the City actress announced on Monday that she plans to challenge two-term incumbent Gov. Mario Cuomo in this September’s Democratic primaries. Nixon, a close ally of Mayor Bill De Blasio, calls attention to rampant income inequality in the state during a two-minute campaign video which branded Cuomo as a “centrist and Albany insider.”
“We are now the most unequal state in the entire country, with both incredible wealth and extreme poverty,” the 51-year-old says.
“I love New York,” she adds. “I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else, but something has to change. We want our government to work again on healthcare, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us.”
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) March 19, 2018
Currently, New York City boasts the United States’ largest gap between rich and poor as the city battles a decades-long funding crisis which has left the MTA in disrepair. The L train, which connects the hipster meccas of Williamsburg and Bushwick to Manhattan, will be shut down for 18 months beginning in 2019. Rampant delays have led to trains so packed that passenger have been forced to ride between train cars.
Nixon plays up this emphasis in the announcement video, which shows her riding the MTA and dropping her children off at school. She describes herself as a “proud public school graduate and a prouder public school parent.”
If elected to office, Nixon would be New York’s first female governor and just the second LGBTQ personafter bisexual Oregon governor Kate Browntapped to a gubernatorial position in the entire U.S. Although the actress has dated both men and women in the past, she told The Huffington Post in 2017 she prefers not to label her sexual orientation.
Her wife, Christine Marinoni, announced earlier this month she would be resigning from her position as senior advisor for community partnerships in New York City to pave the way for Nixon’s run.
But Nixon, who has no prior political experience, faces a major challenge to dethroning Cuomo from the governor’s chair. A poll released by Siena College the day of her announcement showed she trails her opponent by nearly 50 points: 66 percent to 19 percent.
Cuomo’s office appears ready to use her inexperienceas well as her ties to Hollywoodagainst her. The governor’s longtime pollster, Jefrey Pollock, told the New York Times that during a presidency in which electing a reality show host has led to widespread chaos in the political system, voters in New York would balk at the chance to bring those issues to their state.
“Democratic primary voters have made it clear that they have no interest in celebrity candidates,” Pollock claimed. “They are looking for proven experience to take the fight to Donald Trump and to Republicans across the state.”
Cuomo has largely dismissed her campaign, laughing off Nixon’s candidacy as the work of “either the mayor of New York or Vladimir Putin” in a February call with members of the media. But last week the politician was slightly more measured in his response, claiming he isn’t “nervous about whoever runs.”
“There’ll be people who run,” Cuomo said. “That’s called elections, and that’s fine.”
An upset in the primaries is a long shot, especially considering that Cuomo reportedly has $30 million in the bank for his reelection campaign, but it’s not impossible. Zephyr Teachout, a law professor from Fordham, bested all expectations by winning 34 percent of the vote in the 2014 Democratic primaries. Like Nixon, Teachout had never served in office prior to her underdog run.
But Nixon will have at least a few supporters in her corner when ballots are counted in September: her former castmates.
On Monday, SATC alums Willie Garson and Kristin Davis tweeted their endorsements of Nixon, who was nominated for four Emmys (and took home one trophy) during the show’s six-year run. Daviswho played Miranda’s best friend, Charlotteposted that no cares more than her her former colleague “about every person getting a fair change and a good education.”
— Kristin Davis (@KristinDavis) March 19, 2018
“I can’t think of anyone who’s more prepared, more caring, more educated on the issues and more ready than Cynthia Nixon,” added Garson, who portrayed Stanford Blatch on the HBO sitcom. “Please join her on this journey, together we can turn things around with candidates such as her.”
Castmates Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall have yet to post their support on social media following tensions over a third entry in the SATC films. Parker and Cattrall are reportedly still friendly with their one-time costar.
Photo via STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images