Vielkind: Nixon Keeping Primary vs. Cuomo Interesting

War chests, issue stances could make the difference in September

Tom Puckett
July 19, 2018 - 4:00 am

Cynthia Nixon speaks to reporters following her first campaign event in Buffalo on April 25, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The primary for governor is two months away, but one political insider believes the showdown between Governor Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon remains relevant.

"We see the two are engaging on a daily basis," says Jimmy Vielkind of Politico. "With Nixon's left flank challenge on upgrading the New York City subways, legalizing recreational marijuanan and protecting abortion rights, voters will be faced with a choice faced partially on personality and their stance on the issues." Nixon, known for her work on "Sex and the City," is looking to upend Cuomo despite a small amount of contributions. "They find issues, they declare positions and hope to get noticed for positions rather than how much money they've raised," says Vielkind. But he warns the ability of the campaigns to buy advertisting in the runup to the primary could exploit Cuomo's significant advantage over Nixon.

Vielkind says both Nixon and GOP challenger Marc Molinaro are using the Buffalo Billion convictions to show Cuomo is part of the pay to play culture in New York. "The conviction of Alain Kaloyeros and others of rigging bids is a reason to throw the bums out and make some change," says Vielkind. But he notes Cuomo may not be overly affected. "Campaign contributions, while included in background, did not come up in trial, and even though Cuomo has given back the money he received from donors including LP Ciminelli Tuesday evening, it's not clear if the pay to play issue will break through either in the primary or general election."

Republican strategist Carl Calabrese says the war chest isn't about size, as we saw in a Congressional primary earlier this year in New York City. "Alexandria Ocadio-Cortez spent her money wisely, used grass roots and social media. There's more than paying for ads on TV, radio and direct mail," says Calabrese. "Clever candidates can use that to negate their opponent's advantage, but having it and spending it propoerly are two different things."

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