Cynthia Nixon announced she is running for governor of New York on Monday, challenging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the Democratic primary.
“I love New York, and today I’m announcing my candidacy for governor. Join us,” the actress tweeted, along with a link to her campaign fundraising website.
The website describes Nixon as a “lifelong New Yorker and progressive activist” who chose to run in order to “fight for a better, more equal New York.”
“Cynthia hasn’t been bought and paid for by special interests and won’t be accepting any corporate contributions in this campaign,” the fundraising website says. “Instead our campaign will be powered by the people.”
Nixon, a Manhattan resident best known for her role as Miranda Hobbes on “Sex and the City,” introduced her platform in a commercial advertisement released Monday afternoon.
“We are now the most unequal state in the country,” Nixon says as narrator of her campaign video. “Half the kids in our upstate cities live below the poverty line.”
Against a montage of state and city images — the Brooklyn Bridge, Nixon riding the L train — she lists off her platform, including improving health care, ending mass incarceration and “fixing our broken subway.”
The would-be Democratic contest would pit a two-term governor who has $30 million in his campaign account against a first-time candidate who likely would have energetic backing from a progressive wing of the party, which believes the incumbent hasn’t done enough for liberal causes.
“It’s great that we live in a democracy where anyone can run for office,” Cuomo campaign spokesman Austin Shafran said in an email.
Cuomo has “delivered more real progressive wins than any other Democrat in the country,” Shafran said, listing the legalization of gay marriage, the new minimum wage law, a gun control law and the ban on hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas. “We look forward to building on that record as we continue to fight and deliver for New York families statewide.”
If she were to win the state’s highest office, Nixon would be New York’s first female and first openly bisexual governor. Her wife, Christine Marinoni, has stepped down from a position in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, the New York Times reported.
Nixon, 51, hired two former strategists for de Blasio, Bill Hyers and Rebecca Katz, to advise her on the campaign, according to the Times report.
When asked about Nixon’s potential run for governor earlier in March, Cuomo had suggested that de Blasio may be involved: “I think it was probably either the mayor of New York or Vladimir Putin . . . I’m going to leave it to you great investigative reporters to follow the facts and find the truth.”
De Blasio, speaking on NY1 Monday evening, said he did not know about Nixon’s decision to run against Cuomo until it was announced publicly, adding he last spoke with her about a month ago.
“I did not know which way she was going to go with her decision,” the mayor said. “I’m not involved. Some people who used to work for me are involved…”
The mayor largely shirked questions about the gubernatorial race, but did comment on what he believed to be important issues for New Yorkers, including economic fairness, “ensuring people have a decent standard of living” and other progressive-leaning ideas.
“I’m not in the advice-giving business, but I think that’s what we’re seeing everywhere,” he added of the issues.
Nixon, an education activist who has previously spoken at political demonstrations in the city, had been teasing a potential run for governor over the past few months. She addressed the rumors of a run for office while speaking about education funding during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show in August.
“There are a lot of people who would like me to run. And I think for a variety of reasons, but I think the No. 1 is education,” she said. “That gap now between our richest schools and our poorest schools [is] wider under Gov. Cuomo than it has ever been before, and that’s got to stop.”
A Siena College poll released Monday morning showed Cuomo leading Nixon, 66 percent to 19 percent, among Democratic voters. But that survey was taken March 11-16 — before Nixon declared her candidacy.
The poll also showed Cuomo with a two-to-one advantage over potential Republican challengers state Sen. John DeFrancisco and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, per The New York Times.
Within an hour of her announcement Monday, “Cynthia Nixon” became the No. 1 trending item on Twitter, and “Miranda,” her “Sex and the City” character’s name, ranked No. 3.
New York’s primary day is set for Sept. 13 and the general election will be held Nov. 6.
With Yancey Roy and Michael Gormley