- Cynthia Nixon arrives for her first campaign event as a candidate for New York’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, in Brooklyn.
Welcome to politics, Cynthia Nixon.
On her first full day as a candidate for Governor of New York, Nixon got a taste of the rough and tumble, full contact sport American politics has come to be and was dealt loud and clear messages from the Democratic establishment that unseating the governor will be no easy task.
A day after announcing her candidacy with a dramatic two-minute video posted on social media, the former Sex and the City star hit the campaign trail in New York City. For Nixon, the campaign trail was the city’s subway system, which has been sinking deeper into decay with each new day. Sure enough, Nixon was nearly late arriving to her own campaign event due to subway delays — which was the perfect segue for her to slam New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whom she’s looking to unseat. “I got here just in the nick of time. I allowed an hour and a half for what should have been a 30 minute ride,” Nixon told her supporters. “Cuomo’s MTA.” She also questioned whether Cuomo is a “real Democrat,” The New York Times reported.
But as she was blasting the incumbent governor, the governor’s political allies, prominent Democrats, tore into the outsider candidate. Former New York City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn ripped Nixon, telling The New York Post, “I’m surprised by this race. It’s a flight of fancy on her part,” before unleashing an insult she’d later attempt to perform damage control on and then eventually apologize for. “Cynthia Nixon was opposed to having a qualified lesbian become mayor of New York City,” Quinn, a Cuomo surrogate who is also an open lesbian, continued. “Now she wants an unqualified lesbian to be the governor of New York. You have to be qualified and have experience. She isn’t qualified to be the governor.”
It was the “qualified lesbian” comment that drew condemnation, and a retort from Nixon, who said their sexual orientation isn’t the pertinent issue in this race. The issue, Nixon said, is “the corruption in Albany. It’s time for an outsider. I’m not an Albany insider.”
To be clear, Cynthia Nixon’s identity has no bearing on her candidacy and it was not my intention to suggest it did. I want to be clear about that. I would never, EVER, criticize someone because of their identity. 1/4
— Christine Quinn (@chriscquinn) March 20, 2018
Finally, Quinn said she was sorry. “I clearly apologize for that. It came out sideways and offended people,” she told a local news channel. “It came out wrong,” Quinn conceded. “But I do not apologize for saying Cynthia Nixon is unqualified to be governor.” But the tone for the race was quickly set. But on Wednesday evening, Nixon took to Twitter to fire back at Quinn over the “unqualified lesbian” jab.
“When I announced yesterday that I’m running for gov, one of Cuomo’s top surrogates dismissed me as an “unqualified lesbian.” It’s true that I never received my certificate from the Department of Lesbian Affairs, though in my defense there’s a lot of paperwork required.” 🤷♀️
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) March 21, 2018
Meanwhile, New York’s junior U.S. senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, announced through a spokesperson that she is endorsing Cuomo in the race against Nixon. “Kirsten is a friend of Governor Cuomo’s and supports his campaign,” Glen Caplin, her spokesman told The New York Daily News. “He’s been a leader on issues she cares deeply about like marriage equality, paid family leave and campus sexual assault to name a few. She believes he deserves to be re-elected.”
Cuomo and Gillibrand worked together during the Clinton administration and both have been floated as possible presidential candidates in 2020. But for now, the two establishment Democrats are sticking together and trying to keep Nixon, the outsider, precisely where she is — on the outside looking in. And right now, early polling shows it very well could stay that way.