It’s ‘movement vs. machine,’ Nixon tells Dems

With the Sept. 13 gubernatorial primary election looming, Cynthia Nixon addressed three local Democratic clubs that are supporting her at an “organizing party” on Grand St. last week. Photos by Sydney Pereira

BY SYDNEY PEREIRA | Key Downtown Democratic political clubs have endorsed Cynthia Nixon for governor in the Sept. 13 primary. Last week, at an “organizing party” hosted by the Grand Street Democrats, Nixon urged local Dems to continue door knocking and phone banking.

“We deserve to have a much more progressive state than we do now,” Nixon told the roomful of Dems crowded into Seward Park Cooperative’s community room on Thurs., Aug. 9. “I am tired of California getting all the glory.

“We should be a laboratory for all of the things, as we have been for literally centuries,” she added.

The Grand Street Democrats, Downtown Independent Democrats, Coalition for a District Alternative and the Village Independent Democrats are all behind Nixon in her run against Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been in office since 2011.

“Nixon knows New York City — born and raised,” said Caroline Laskow, Democratic district leader for Assembly District 65, Part A. “This is the economic engine of the state. It’s the cultural center of the world, and we should be investing more in the city.”

At last week’s meeting, District Leader Laskow added that the clubs’ endorsements are just the beginning of the work to elect Nixon. She urged attendees to canvass and reach out to neighbors to vote. The deadline to register to vote in the primary is this Sun., Aug. 19.

D.I.D. endorsed Nixon back in June.

“The governor endorsement debate was lively and was a contest between ‘no-endorsement’ and Nixon,” Richard Corman, president of D.I.D., said by e-mail. “Nixon prevailed with the strength of the argument that she and her campaign were driving Cuomo to take progressive positions and actions that he had not previously done, and, the argument went, this was something we wanted to acknowledge and support.”

Corman added the seven years that Cuomo enabled the Independent Democratic Conference to stay intact was one factor in the club’s endorsement. The I.D.C. — which caucused seperately from other Democrats in the state Senate and allied itself with Senate Republicans — was criticized for holding back progressive policies at the state level. In response to Cuomo’s belated pressure, the I.D.C. dissolved in April.

Nixon announced her run in late March and has since been credited with pushing Cuomo to the left on a myriad of issues, dubbed the “Cynthia Effect”. One of her leading messages during her campaign has been a promise to fix the subway.

“We can fix the goddamn subway,” she told the group of local Dems. “The subway is the lifeblood of New York City, whether you live here, whether you work here, whether you visit here or whether you just understand that New York City is the economic engine of this state. And if we let the subway die, the city of New York dies along with it, and right now the subway is on life support.”

Nixon added that she will fight to end cash bail, legalize marijuana primarily on the basis of racial justice, and “turbocharge” a transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

The former “Sex and the City” star criticized Cuomo for his lack of small-dollar contributions, saying just 0.1 percent of his donations have been small amounts. Last month, The New York Times reported that in the past six months, 1 percent of the $6 million Cuomo has raised came from donations $250 or less after efforts to bump up his small-dollar donations.

“He has the corporations,” Nixon said. “He has the banks. He has the wealthiest individuals looking for even more of a tax break than they’ve received already. But what we have is the people. This is a people-powered campaign.”

District Leader Caroline Laskow helped rally the troops at the organizing event.

She referenced the groundbreaking primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who beat Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

“You fight a machine with a movement,” Nixon said, “and that’s what we have.”

A spokesperson for Cuomo’s campaign referred The Villager to the lengthy list of endorsements the governor has received, including from other Manhattan political clubs, such as the Stonewall Democratic Club, Lower East Side Democratic Club and Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, among others.

The Grand Street Democrats, Downtown Independent Democrats and Coalition for a District Alternative have also endorsed Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor, Letitia James for New York State attorney general and Tom DiNapoli for re-election as State Comptroller.

V.I.D. endorsed James and DiNapoli, too, but for lieutenant governor opted for incumbent Kathy Hochul.

After V.I.D.’s endorsements back in May, Erik Coler, V.l.D.’s president, told The Villager back then that the club was supporting Nixon and Hochul partly because “it’s the year of the woman.”

“The endorsements of Cynthia Nixon and Kathy Hochul mirrors what we’re seeing across the nation,” Coler told the paper. “It is the year of the woman. There is a great enthusiasm at V.I.D. for female candidates.”

For Democratic State Committee — the body that plays a role in the state’s Democratic Party endorsements — the Grand Street Democrats endorsed Jenny Lam Low and Chris Marte for the 65th Assembly District, and V.I.D. endorsed incumbents Ben Yee and Rachel Lavine for re-election in the 66th Assembly District. D.I.D. endorsed those four candidates as well. CoDA endorsed Michelle Winfield and Michael Farrin for the 74th Assembly District.

Grand Street Dems, V.I.D. and D.I.D. endorsed the incumbents in their districts for the state Legislature — Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou and state Senators Brad Hoylman and Brian Kavanagh. CoDA also endorsed incumbents Assemblymembers Harvey Epstein and Niou, as well as Kavanagh and Hoylman.

The three clubs have also endorsed Shahabuddeen Ally and Ariel Chesler for Manhattan Civil Court and Robert Rosenthal for Civil Court District 2. Rosenthal is running in a primary for the bench against Wendy Li. CoDA endorsed Rosenthal too. D.I.D. also endorsed Frank Nervo for Civil Court District 1.

Among Downtown-area politicians endorsing Cuomo are Councilmembers Corey Johnson, Margaret Chin and Carlina Rivera, as well as Congressmember Nydia Velazquez. Public Advocate Letitia James is also supporting the governor’s re-election.

On Thursday morning Aug. 16, Epstein and Nixon cross-endorsed each other.

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