After a heated summer of campaigning that has seen controversies ranging from mailers to bagels, New Yorkers are finally voting in the Democratic governor primary.
The battle between incumbent Gov Andrew Cuomo and former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon will finally come to a head on Tuesday night.
Polls opened in the Big Apple and its suburbs at 6am on Tuesday and were open across the rest of the state at noon. The polls will close at 9pm.
A new survey released on Monday showed that Nixon was far behind in the race, with Cuomo leading by 41 points.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon smiles while casting her vote in New York on Thursday morning
Nixon is challenging incumbent New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination, though polls in today’s primary election have her trailing by many points
And every major poll has the governor, who has been endorsed by Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, ahead by at least 30 points.
But Nixon, a first-time candidate, has not been fazed by the numbers and said such polls aren’t reaching those who will actually turn out for her on Election Day.
‘We have a younger, more progressive, more diverse electorate,’ Nixon told the New York Times last month.
‘Those are the people that are going to turn out for me.’
Nixon wouldn’t be the first New York primary candidate to beat the polls this year.
A new survey released on Monday showed that Nixon was far behind in the race, with Cuomo leading by 41 points. Cuomo holds his ballot while voting on Thursday
Cuomo, pictured alongside girlfriend Sandra Lee, casts his ballot at the Presbyterian Church in Mt Cisco, New York
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was down 36 points before she defeated incumbent Rep Joe Crowley in a June primary, beating him by 15 points.
‘We need fundamental change. That has come from a groundswell from the people,’ Nixon said on public radio on Tuesday.
‘Don’t believe the polls, don’t believe the hype. We have a chance to strike a blow for real progressives.’
Throughout the campaign, Nixon has hammered Cuomo for not investing enough in New York City’s beleaguered transit system, for not addressing political corruption and for failing to deliver on economic development promises upstate.
Nixon, a first-time candidate, had not been fazed by the numbers and said such polls aren’t reaching those who will turn out for her on Election Day
Nixon happily chatted with voters while on the subway en route to voting in the primary
Nixon also took time to greet voters in Union Square on Election Day in New York on Thursday
Nixon, who has promised to raise taxes and fight for single-payer health care and universal rent control, also said Cuomo hasn’t done enough to push forward progressive policies.
‘I voted for him eight years ago because I remembered his dad,’ Nixon, referring to the late former Gov Mario Cuomo, said during a Brooklyn rally on Saturday.
‘And because I believed that he was a Democrat, the way he said he was,’ she added.
‘But what happened? Since he’s taken office, he seems to have forgotten that he’s a Democrat. He’s governed like a Republican.’
Sandra Lee gives Cuomo a kiss after they vote in the New York Democratic primary Thursday
Cuomo’s campaign has spent little time focusing on Nixon as the Governor has focused on portraying himself as a direct opponent to President Donald Trump
Cuomo’s campaign has spent little time focusing on Nixon as the Governor has focused on portraying himself as a direct opponent to President Donald Trump.
‘I am the most aggressive governor in the United States of America in taking him on,’ Cuomo said during a speech on Monday, failing to mention Nixon’s name even once.
‘This Thursday the 13th, we’re going to make it an unlucky day for Donald Trump… let’s fight back and let’s show him that his nonsense doesn’t sell here’
At a different rally, Cuomo mentioned his feud with Trump and asked voters to reject the president by giving their vote to him.
Polls opened in the Big Apple and its suburbs at 6am on Tuesday and were open across the rest of the state at noon. The polls will close at 9pm
A new survey released on Monday showed that Nixon was far behind in the race, with Cuomo leading by 41 points. Pictured is a woman exiting a polling station in Brooklyn
‘The president says, “I’m fighting with Gov Cuomo but it’s just Gov Cuomo that I’m fighting with, just Gov Cuomo – everybody else agrees with me'”, Cuomo recalled.
‘I want you to come out Thursday and vote for me. And I want, when you fill in that little hole there on that little ballot, I want you to be saying “No, President Trump, it’s not just Andrew who disagrees with you. Every decent New Yorker disagrees with you.”‘
‘When I stand up, I stand up for every person in New York and every Democrat in New York and every reasonable person in New York,’ Cuomo said in another rally on Wednesday night.
‘And when you come after me, you come after the State of New York and we’re not going to let it happen.’
But behind the scenes, Cuomo has taken Nixon as a serious threat.
Four years ago he largely ignored primary challenger Zephyr Teachout, refusing even to shake her hand, and lost a third of the vote.
Every major poll has Cuomo, who has been endorsed by Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, ahead by at least 30 points
Cuomo has spent $16million of his $31million campaign fund to stall Nixon’s efforts
This year he’s spent millions on ads, marshaled key endorsements and, intentionally or not, moved to the left on issues such as legalizing marijuana, banning plastic bags, returning voting rights to former inmates, and addressing conditions in New York City public housing.
And Cuomo has spent $16million of his $31million campaign fund to stall Nixon’s efforts, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Nixon, meanwhile, has spent around $2million on her own campaign.
Despite his hefty war chest, Cuomo has turned out to be one of his campaign’s biggest liabilities.
The governor was mocked weeks ago after he declared that America was ‘never that great’ while criticizing Trump during a speech.
And Cuomo came under fire after a Democratic Party mailer falsely claimed that Nixon was ‘silent on the rise of anti-Semitism’.
Cuomo claimed to have no knowledge of the mailer, despite his control of the party and a recent $2.5million contribution to its campaign operations.
Party Director Geoff Berman later said the mailer was a mistake, and Cuomo’s spokeswoman acknowledged that a Cuomo campaign worker was behind the piece.
Nixon’s biggest scandal, it seems, has been when she dared to order cream cheese and lox on a cinnamon raisin bagel last week – sending the internet into a frenzy.
The winner of the primary will face Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, an independent, in the November general election.
Nixon, who has promised to raise taxes and fight for single-payer health care and universal rent control, said Cuomo hasn’t done enough to push forward progressive policies
Thursday’s primary also features a four-way Democratic contest for attorney general, which is being closely watched because of the office’s ability to investigate Trump and his business and charity dealings.
New York City Public Advocate Tish James, who has Cuomo’s support, faces Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, attorney Leecia Eve and Teachout, a Fordham University law professor who has Nixon’s endorsement.
James was the early frontrunner but Monday’s Siena poll suggests she’s now nearly neck-and-neck with Maloney and Teachout.
Whoever wins that race would be heavily favored against Republican Keith Wofford in November.
Several competitive primaries for the state Legislature will also be decided, including some high-profile contests featuring challengers hoping to retire state senators who were former members in the Independent Democratic Conference.
The Independent Democratic Conference is a now defunct faction that broke with mainline Democrats to support Republican control of the chamber.
Thursday’s primary also features a four-way Democratic contest for attorney general, which is being closely watched because of the office’s ability to investigate Trump