Cuomo handily defeats 'resistance' challenger Cynthia Nixon, as some far-left Dems fall behind in early returns  9/14/2018 2:15:00 AM   Gregg Re

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo soundly defeated insurgent progressive Cynthia Nixon in Thursday's gubernatorial primary, denying far-left liberals a victory they had long sought against the establishment Democrat.

Nixon, a former "Sex and the City" co-star, was widely predicted to lose the race, even as she insisted polls were underestimating her support. She had sought to mirror the success of Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and capitalize on a series of missteps by Cuomo, who was roundly mocked last month for saying America "was never that great."

With nearly half of precincts reporting, though, Nixon was trailing Cuomo by more than thirty percentage points -- putting her more in line with the dismal performance of Bernie Sanders' son Levi in New Hampshire earlier this week.

The state on Thursday was also host to other challenges by so-called "resistance" Democrats, as voters made their picks for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

The races -- the last of a grueling and upset-filled national primary season -- will have national reverberations and will serve not only as a referendum on President Trump, who has been heavily targeted, but also as a potential thorn in his side.

The victor in the state's four-way attorney general race, for example, may soon see the president in court; New York has filed several lawsuits against his policies and his charitable foundation.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks as he marks his primary election ballot at the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco, in Mount Kisco, N.Y., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks as he marks his primary election ballot at the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco on Thursday.  (AP)


Nixon had received the endorsement of the Working Families Party (WFP), an influential, progressive third party in New York. She was seeking to join the handful of insurgent liberal candidates who have sent shockwaves through the Democratic political establishment by unseating party favorites ahead of November's midterm elections.

Ocasio-Cortez stunned observers by defeating a longtime congressman, Joe Crowley, in the state's federal primaries this summer. New York holds federal and state primaries in different months.

However, Nixon wound up joining several national progressive candidates who have run from the left only to be trounced in key races in deeply liberal states like Hawaii.


The race had featured bitter attacks, with Nixon calling Cuomo a "bully" and Cuomo's campaign dismissing her as "unhinged."

Both Cuomo and Nixon sought to make the election about Trump. "Together, we can show the entire country that in the era of Donald Trump, New Yorkers will come together and lead our nation forward," Nixon wrote Wednesday evening in a final message to supporters.

Cuomo, for his part, spent millions on ads to argue that he's the most qualified candidate to push back against the White House. He also touted liberal accomplishments such as gun control, free public college tuition and a higher minimum wage.


FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2018, file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo answers a question as his Democratic gubernatorial challenger, Cynthia Nixon, looks on during a debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Nixon is mostly right in her claim that Cuomo allowed Republicans draw redistricting lines after 2010 census. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, Pool, File)

Cuomo answers a question at a debate last month as Cynthia Nixon looks on.  (AP)

"We don't just believe it — we live by it," he told a rally in Buffalo on Tuesday.

But Nixon had hammered Cuomo for failing to address New York City's beleaguered subways, and for not following through on pledges to address corruption.

In an interview with The New York Times, Nixon said the state has "a younger, more progressive, more diverse electorate," and predicted that "those are the people that are going to turn out for me."


Cuomo had racked up endorsements from a wide assortment of people including Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and, on Wednesday, singer-rapper Nicki Minaj.

Cuomo is set to face Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, an independent, in the November general election. It's possible that both Cuomo and Nixon could appear on the November ballot, thanks to third-party nominations. New York state law allows candidates to run on multiple ballot lines.

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2018, file photo, candidate Zephyr Teachout stands at the podium during a debate by the Democratic candidates for New York State Attorney General at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. The four candidates in the tightly contested primary, Teachout, Letitia James, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Leecia Eve have all vowed to be a legal thorn in Republican President Donald Trump's side, opposing his policies on immigration and the environment. And the winner will inherit several pending lawsuits filed by the state that challenge Trump's policies and accuse his charitable foundation of breaking the law. (Holly Pickett/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File)

Zephyr Teachout at a debate last month among Democratic candidates for state attorney general.  (AP)

Meanwhile, voters also had "resistance" candidates to choose from in New York's primaries for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

The state attorney general race will determine which candidate will inherit several pending lawsuits filed by the state that challenge Trump's policies and accuse his charitable foundation of breaking the law. All four candidates have vowed to cause problems for the White House if elected.

Candidates in the tightly contested contest include Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout -- who made a strong showing against Cuomo in 2014's gubernatorial race and has positioned herself as an outsider, insurgent candidate -- as well as New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and former Hillary Clinton adviser Leecia Eve.

Teachout campaigned with Nixon against Cuomo, and has pledged to make fighting state corruption a priority. She said she'd use the "law as a sword, not just a shield" in cracking down on Trump.

Her former watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, sued the Trump administration, arguing that the president's hospitality businesses violated part of the Constitution barring the president from accepting gifts and payments from foreign governments without Congress' consent.

Teachout's rivals were no friendlier to the administration. "Donald Trump is a clear and present danger," Maloney said at a recent debate. "He is a crook, and a bigot, and he has a bullseye on New York."


City Council Member Jumaane Williams, who is running for lieutenant governor.  (AP)

The current attorney general, Barbara Underwood, was appointed in May when Eric Schneiderman resigned after he was accused of physically abusing women. Underwood declined to run for election.

And in the race for lieutenant governor, Jumaane D. Williams is the resistance candidate on the ballot. Williams, who reportedly has faced significant financial troubles, was found guilty of obstructing an emergency vehicle after he blocked an ambulance at an immigrants' rights rally last month, after prosecutors said he had acted “irrationally and unreasonably."

Williams was impeding an ambulance carrying his friend, an immigrant rights activist who had been informed he would be detained, and then fainted. Williams also was booked for blocking traffic outside of Trump Tower in the wake of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Cuomo has endorsed the incumbent, Kathy Hochul. Williams has Nixon's backing.

Fox News' Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Nicole Darrah and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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