New York governor Andrew Cuomo easily defeated progressive challenger Cynthia Nixon in Thursday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. Cuomo had a massive polling lead throughout the race, and the AP called it half an hour after the polls closed. Cuomo had 65.6 percent of the vote to Nixon’s 34.4 percent, with 99 percent reporting.
Cuomo-endorsed candidates at the top of the ticket won as well. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul fended off a challenge from New York City council member Jumaane Williams, though the race was a bit tighter than expected. Horchul had 53.3 percent of the vote to Williams’s 46.7 percent. Letitia James, the New York City public advocate, had a much easier time, winning with 40.6 percent of the vote, while Zephyr Teachout had 31 percent and Sean Patrick Maloney had 25 percent. If James wins in November, which is likely, she’ll be the first black woman to ever hold statewide office in New York.
Liberal insurgents did win down-ballot, unseating six of the eight breakaway Democrats whose Independent Democratic Conference kept Republicans in control of the state Senate until Cuomo brokered a deal earlier this year to have them rejoin the party (which, for many, confirmed that he was behind the odd set-up all along).
For whatever reason, Cuomo wasn’t in a celebratory mood on Thursday night … or at least, he didn’t feel like celebrating with the state Democratic Party, which heavily backed his campaign. Cuomo had been a bit press shy in recent days amid the controversy surrounding the mailer accusing Nixon of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism, which was sent by the state Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, Nixon made an odd move, lamenting the high voter turnout in the race. Turnout in this year’s primary was two and a half times larger than in 2014, which was a promising sign for New York Democrats hoping to flip the House in November.
Nixon later tweeted out a more traditional thank-you to her supporters.
At her election night party and on Twitter, Nixon credited her campaign with moving Cuomo to the left and predicted change is coming to New York politics.
“Before we take our country back, we have to take our party back,” she said. “This is an incredible moment for progressives, but it’s not just a moment. It’s a movement.”
This post has been updated throughout.