Cynthia Nixon is running for governor of New York

The "Sex and the City" star is mounting a challenge to incumbent Andrew Cuomo in the state's Democratic primary

Published March 19, 2018 4:04PM (EDT)

Cynthia Nixon; Andrew Cuomo (Getty/Jenny Anderson/Hans Pennink)
Cynthia Nixon; Andrew Cuomo (Getty/Jenny Anderson/Hans Pennink)

"Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon officially declared her candidacy for governor of New York on Monday. The announcement ended months of speculation as to whether the actress would mount a challenge to incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the state's Democratic primary this September.

Nixon's candidacy has historic implications. If she were to win, the actress would become New York's first women and first openly bi-sexual governor. Her run also impacts the political future of Cuomo, who is seeking a third term in office but is also openly rumored to have his eyes on the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Nixon partnered her official announcement with a campaign video shared on Twitter. "New York is where I was raised and where I am raising my kids," the mom of three says. "I'm a proud public school graduate and a prouder public school parent. I was given chances I just don't see for most of New York's kids today."

Indeed, Nixon is a longtime education activist with a record of speaking out about the vast inefficiencies and inequalities of New York's public school system. "Between our 100 richest schools and our 100 poorest schools, there’s a $10,000 gap on what we spend per pupil," Nixon said on the Today show in August. "The gap between our richest schools and our poorest schools is wider under Gov. Cuomo than it has ever been before, and that’s got to stop."

While she did not name Cuomo by name, Nixon did address New York's rising income gap head on, casting blame on the state's politicians. "Our leaders are letting us down. We are now the most unequal state in the entire country, with both incredible wealth and extreme poverty," she said. "How did we let this happen?"

"Something has to change," Nixon continued. "We want our government to work again — on health care, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us."

This message provides early clues as to what issues Nixon plans to center her campaign on. While health care and mass incarceration are key progressive issues across the country, Cuomo has come under fire throughout the past year over New York City's failing subway system, and for many New Yorkers, transportation is a daily struggle.

On Twitter, there were many positive reactions to Nixon's candidacy. Rosie O'Donnell declared her support, proclaiming Nixon to be "a true leader."

While Cuomo remains fairly popular, one journalist dubbed Nixon a "high-profile primary challenger."

And many people addressed the double-standard of actors and men in entertainment easily transitioning into politics, while women in the same industries are more likely be called out for their inexperience.

In a time where actors and entertainers en masse are making the leap into politics, Nixon still needs to clarify her positions on key issues if she wants to be taken seriously as a politician. But, as far as progressive values and political engagement go, her record outpaces many of her showbiz counterparts. As others have pointed out, Nixon might just have a name and platform large enough to wield victory this fall.

By Rachel Leah

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Andrew Cuomo Cynthia Nixon Democrat Primary Education Governor New York Wealth Inequality