Cynthia Nixon, the actress who played red-headed, feisty lawyer Miranda Hobbes in Sex In The City, is running for governor in New York. She’s going up against Andrew Cuomo, the incumbent. Andrew Cuomo, as you might recall, is the son of late New York governor, Mario Cuomo, and the brother of the ever-clueless Chris Cuomo of CNN, who also plays a lawyer on TV.
Cynthia Nixon challenging the incumbent isn’t as weird as you might think. We’ve had actors become Governors—Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Congressmen—Sonny Bono, Fred Grandy (he was Gopher on the Love Boat), Senators—Fred Thompson, ambassadors—Shirley Temple, and even Presidents—Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump (he actually holds a SAG—Screen Actors Guild—card). Good for her, putting her progressive money where her mouth is.
Cynthia Nixon is NOT the granddaughter or niece or cousin or any sort of relative to President Richard M. Nixon, despite what her Wikipedia entry might have shown.
No, Ms. Nixon is a mom who has been an actress, education activist, and LBGT advocate, who now wants to be governor. She’s never held any sort of office, but she says that she was inspired by Trump’s win.
In her view, if Trump can get elected by gathering the great unwashed from the center-right of the political spectrum, then she can certainly beat Andrew Cuomo in a primary coming at him from the hard left.
In Trumpian fashion, she’s already needling Cuomo by challenging him to a one-on-one televised debate. Cuomo is famous for refusing to debate his opponents. He refused to debate his primary opponent Zephyr Teachout in 2014; and he wouldn’t even give his Republican challenger Rob Astorino the time of day.
He’s a man who recognizes his own limitations. And he’s got plenty.
But, now, I think she’s hit upon the winning strategy. She’s got a new campaign slogan.
“Vote for the homo, not the Cuomo”
This is a riff on the slogan Mario Cuomo, the current NY Governor's father, used in 1977 when he was running for mayor of New York City against Ed Koch. Cuomo’s slogan? “Vote for Cuomo, not the homo.”
Koch had long been dogged by rumors about his sexuality because he never married. People were worried that an unmarried man wouldn’t be “stable” enough to get elected. In 1977 in most places outside of San Francisco, homosexuality was judged to be a disqualification for office.
Andrew Cuomo, a teenager at the time, worked on his father’s campaign, and Ms. Nixon said her slogan was inspired by the events of 1977, which she blamed on the younger Mr. Cuomo.
“Andrew Cuomo is known for dirty politics but I have to give credit where it’s due,” Ms. Nixon said this week in a speech at the 118th annual Legislative Correspondents Association in Albany, New York. “His history of cutthroat campaigns, helped inspire my campaign’s new slogan.”
The New York gubernatorial primary is scheduled for Sept. 13. Mr. Cuomo leads Ms. Nixon comfortably in polling, though the margin has been shrinking since the actress and self-styled progressive announced her campaign.
A Quinnipiac University poll taken April 26-May 1 had Mr. Cuomo up by 22 percentage points — 50 percent to 28 percent — though that margin is less than half the 47-point lead (66-19) he has in a Siena College poll taken six weeks earlier.
It’s a long way to September, so a lot can happen.
Remember—Vote for the homo, not the Cuomo.