New York primary results: Cynthia Nixon defeated in governor race by incumbent Andrew Cuomo after contentious election

The victory follows a contentious primary election as progressive newcomers enter the Democratic fray in the 2018 midterms

Chris Riotta
New York
Friday 14 September 2018 02:58 BST
Cynthia Nixon concession speech in New York governor race

Andrew Cuomo has defeated progressive activist Cynthia Nixon in the New York Democratic primaries, paving the way for his third term as the state’s governor.

The incumbent Democratic governor won comfortably, receiving more than 65 per cent of the total vote with more than 90 per cent of districts reporting.

His victory followed a contentious and closely watched primary season, in which a wave of progressive candidates sought to shake up the Democratic establishment in Albany. Mr Cuomo held a decisive lead over Ms Nixon leading up to Thursday’s vote, with his progressive opponent trailing by 41 per cent in a poll published just before the election.

Ms Nixon received nearly 278,000 votes compared to Mr Cuomo’s 534,922 in data received an hour after polling sites closed, with 49 per cent of districts reporting.

“We started with nothing and we earned every single vote,” Cynthia Nixon said on Thursday in her concession speech. “We had fundamentally changed the political landscape in this state.

In a follow-up tweet, the progressive candidate wrote, “This isn’t just a symbolic victory.”

“This campaign forced the Governor to make concrete commitments that will change the lives of people across this state,” she continued.

​​The defeated gubernatorial candidate saluted Zephyr Teachout, who ran against Letitia James for attorney general, as well as Jumaane Williams, who ran against Kathy Hochul for lieutenant governor, in her concession speech.

Neither won their elections, as Ms James secured a historic win to become the state attorney general while Ms Hochul held onto her seat as lieutenant governor in Albany.

The Associated Press called the victory at 9.30pm. With Thursday’s victory, Mr Cuomo will appear on the November election ballot as the Democratic Party’s official nominee, spurring immediate speculation about a presidential bid in 2020 against Donald Trump.

In an interview with The Independent ahead of the primaries, the actress and first-time candidate made it clear that her campaign against Mr Cuomo was just the beginning of her political career in New York.

Cynthia Nixon calls for ICE to be abolished

“I want to make it clear that I have been fighting for a lot of these issues much longer than from the start of this campaign,” she said on Tuesday, adding, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Mr Cuomo has situated himself as one of the president’s most vocal critics as governor, attacking him over his alleged falsities and criticising his hard-line policies impacting immigrants arriving at the US-Mexico border and beyond.

Mr Cuomo’s opponents — including Marc Molinaro, the Republican gubernatorial candidate for New York who ran unopposed in Thursday’s primary elections — have attacked him on state issues, from the city’s failing subway system to a major gap in education funding for lower-income schools compared to those in upper class neighbourhoods across the state.

Ms Nixon could still stand in November’s midterm elections against Mr Cuomo under the Working Families Party, which endorsed her earlier this year. It remains to be seen whether she will continue campaigning for that role.

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