New York governor’s race: Andrew M. Cuomo, Cynthia Nixon, Marc Molinaro among the candidates

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is being challenged by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and others. / Getty Images / Dimitrios Kambouris; Dutchess County executive

Gov. Andrew Cuomo secured the Democratic Party nomination in his campaign for a third term on Thursday, besting progressive challenger Cynthia Nixon in the state’s primary election.

Nixon can stay in the race through November on the Working Families Party ballot line. However, she is expected to be pressured by Cuomo backers to not campaign hard so the Democratic vote isn't split too far.

Cuomo will still have several other gubernatorial hopefuls on the ballot with him in the Nov. 6 general election, including Republican Marc Molinaro and Independent Stephanie Miner.


Running on the Democratic ticket with Cuomo is Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who beat challenger City Councilman Jumaane Williams in their primary race on Thursday.

Scroll down to read more about the 2018 candidates.

Andrew M. Cuomo

Cuomo, who was first elected governor in 2011, is seeking his third term. The Queens native was previously New York attorney general, U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development and chair of the New York City Homeless Commission.

He often refers to the passage of the statewide minimum wage, marriage equality, paid family leave and “Raise the Age” as examples of his progressiveness. He also touts the completion of the first stage of the Second Avenue Subway, the new Tappan Zee Bridge (now named the Mario Cuomo Bridge) and steps toward improvements to Penn Station and LaGuardia Airport, but he has been sharply criticized for the MTA’s poor subway service. The governor repeatedly calls on the city to pay for half of the Fast Forward plan to modernize the system, which has an estimated cost of $30 to $40 billion.

Cuomo also has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and has vowed several times to fight his policies.

Cynthia Nixon


Nixon, an actress and education advocate, announced her run for governor on March 19. Although she lost the Democratic primary election to Cuomo, Nixon could continue to run for governor on the Working Families Party ticket.

From the outset, Nixon was very critical of Cuomo over the poor state of the MTA subway system, making the transit system one of the focuses of her campaign announcement. “Governor Cuomo has been focused on making superficial, cosmetic changes rather than fixing the real problems,” it says on Nixon’s campaign website. “He has completely neglected the non-glamorous infrastructure work that actually keeps the subway functioning.”

Nixon also is critical of the widening gap between the rich and poor in the state and has accused the governor of being beholden to “corporate interests and wealthy donors.” She has accused Cuomo of failing to identify illegal activities by his top aide Joseph Percoco, who was found guilty of bribery, or of being complicit.

“You have either incompetence or corruption,” she said.

Some of her initiatives include reforming the state’s rent laws to close loopholes that drive up costs, passing Medicare-for-all, banning “pay-to-play” campaign donations from companies seeking business with the state and legalizing marijuana.

Marc Molinaro

The current Dutchess County executive officially became the Republican nominee for governor at the state convention in May.


“Are you ready to believe in New York again?” Molinaro asked in his speech. He promised a “bold property tax cut” and an end to “corporate welfare.”

Molinaro pitched himself as someone who knows what it’s like to struggle, having grown up poor with a single mother, contrasting himself with Cuomo, who comes from a powerful political family.

In August, he unveiled his plan to fix the MTA, which relies heavily on collective bargaining, overtime and health care reforms to bring down operating and capital project costs.

His political history dates to 1994, when he was elected to serve on the Village of Tivoli board of trustees at the age of 18. He became the youngest mayor in the history of the United States a year later and, at 36, he was the youngest person elected as Dutchess County executive.

Since being elected as Dutchess County executive in 2011, Molinaro has “sought to create a comprehensive economic development strategy, one that more aggressively attracts and retains private sector companies and jobs,” according to the Dutchess County website.

Stephanie Miner

A former mayor of Syracuse, Stephanie Miner announced she is running for governor as an independent under the new party Serve America Movement, which grew from dissatisfaction with the 2016 election.

“New Yorkers have been fed up with politics as usual for far too long,” she said in a statement on her website. “And while I have been a proud Democrat my entire life, sometimes in order to change the system you have to create a new path for real change to happen.”

Miner began her career with Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and worked closely with Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential campaign. She became the first female mayor in Syracuse in 2010 and served for two terms.

She rose to statewide attention in 2013 when she wrote a New York Times opinion piece criticizing a Cuomo pension “smoothing” plan that she said would hurt municipalities and property taxpayers.

On her campaign website, she says she wants to restore trust in government by creating a new, independent commission to investigate corruption, prohibiting “giveaways” to campaign contributors and banning anonymous campaign contributions; reform the voting process by allowing same-day registration, early voting and vote by mail; cut property taxes and rebuild infrastructure.

Howie Hawkins

Hawkins, who previously ran for governor in 2014 and 2010, announced in April he is running again on the Green Party ticket.

“Progressives need to raise our expectations and demand more,” Hawkins said, adding that his presence in the campaign moves Cuomo to the left.

“What our little Green Party does matters and we hope to make a difference in this campaign,” he said.

Hawkins advocates for clean energy, guaranteed health care, affordable housing and marijuana legalization, among other progressive policies.

Larry Sharpe

Sharpe is a native New Yorker, businessman and a veteran of the Marine Corps, who is running for the state’s top executive seat as a Libertarian. He credits his seven years in the military with developing the skills he believes are needed to be an effective leader, including discipline, teamwork and strategic thinking.

As a businessman, Sharpe got his start in trucking and distribution. He is the managing director of the Neo-Sage Group, which specializes in business training for entrepreneurs. Sharpe has also taught at such universities as Yale, Columbia and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, according to his campaign website.

He believes the key to fixing the college education system in New York lies in institutions working with private businesses to indicate which skills are needed after graduation.

Joel Giambra

Giambra, of Buffalo, is a former county executive of Erie County and Buffalo city comptroller. He originally announced he was running as a Republican, but later withdrew that bid and said he would run as an independent.

“I don’t think my independent message has connected with state Republican leaders who seem intent on continuing the losing formula that all but guarantees a third term for Democrat Andrew Cuomo,” he said.

Some of Giambra’s priorities are creating a debt-free New York in 15 years; changing how the state administers Medicaid by taking the cost burden away from the counties; reforming the criminal justice system by providing inmates with rehabilitative services, repealing mandatory minimum sentences and appointing a statewide public advocate; and legalizing marijuana.

With Newsday