Cynthia Nixon makes final pitch to progressives in NY governor primary

Challenger looks to ride progressive wave

By GREGORY KRIEG, CNN
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Cynthia Nixon, candidate for New York Governor, participates in the annual West Indian Day Parade on September 3, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

(CNN) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking Cynthia Nixon's primary challenge seriously -- and he has the receipts to prove it.

His campaign spent about $400,000 per day during a recent three-week stretch, only slightly less than Nixon's total outlay over the same period.

By necessity as much as design, Nixon has focused her limited resources on digital outreach and get-out-the-vote activities. On Saturday, her campaign released its final ad, a two-minute video it hopes can break through -- or at least side-step -- the torrent of television ads being run by the two-term incumbent who, when the race was last polled in July, held a lead in excess of 30 percentage points.

In an interview Saturday morning, Nixon argued that corruption in Albany, the state capital, can only be cleaned up, and the struggles of working-class New Yorkers properly addressed, by someone from outside the halls of power --- someone like her.

"We need more people who are public school kids, who are public school parents who ride the subway every day and who know what it's like to be preyed upon by landlords, as my mother and I were when I was a kid," Nixon said. "We need more people elected to office who have a firsthand experience of that."

In the ad, Nixon is cast alongside her campaign's top progressive allies, including lieutenant governor candidate Jumaane Williams, Zephyr Teachout, who is running for state attorney general after challenging Cuomo in 2014, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with whom Nixon exchanged endorsements in the days before the 28-year-old fellow first-time candidate defeated Rep. Joe Crowley in June.

"We share a progressive vision," Nixon said of the group, reprising a key campaign argument: "We can't just keep giving people something to show up and vote against, we actually have to give them something to show up and vote for."

Nixon's bid, which began with a jolt in March, seemed to bog down as the campaign entered its summer slog and Cuomo, a hardened campaigner with deep pockets, consolidated establishment support with an endorsement from Hillary Clinton during the state party convention in late May. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is also backing the incumbent, has featured prominently in Cuomo's television ad blitz.

In her final bid to overtake Cuomo, Nixon pledges, as she has throughout a campaign, to make affordable housing in the state "a basic human right," fix New York City's crumbling subway system, pass single-payer health care and cut a "green New Deal."

"New York deserves a leader as progressive as its people," Nixon says. "And when I'm governor, she will be."

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