NIXON VS. CUOMO

On Thursday, New York Democrats will pick their nominees for state office. Can actress Cynthia Nixon unseat Gov. Andrew Cuomo and become the next gubernatorial candidate? Plus, the nine other races that could shake up our state.

Aired on September 12, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

NEW YORK VOTERS HEAD TO THE POLLS TOMORROW TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS IN THE STATE PRIMARIES.

FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, THIS PRIMARY PITS A NUMBER OF WELL FUNDED ESTABLISHMENT CANDIDATES AGAINST A HOST OF PROGRESSIVE CHALLENGERS SEEKING TO PUSH THE PARTY FURTHER TO THE LEFT.

FROM THE GOOD TO BE NA FORRIAL CLASH BETWEEN ANDREW CUOMO TO CYNTHIA NIXON TO THE WIDE OPEN ATTORNEY GENERAL'S RACE.

AND THE CONTEST FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IN THE SENATE.

THIS IS SHAPE UPPING TO BE A BATTLE FOR THE IDENTITY OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

SO JOINING US NOW WITH A PRIMER OF WHAT'S AT STAKE, BEN MACK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE GOTHAM GAZETTE, AND REPORTER FOR THE W NYC.

GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

HI, JENNA.

LET'S START OFF WITH THE BIG RACE EVERYBODY HAS BEEN WATCHING AND TALKING ABOUT THE MOST, THE GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY.

FIRST OFF, HOW MUCH DOES BAGEL GATEWAY WEIGH INTO THIS?

IT'S NOT SWAYING TOO MUCH VOTERS.

HOWEVER IT'S GIVEN HER CHANCE TO GET MORE MEDIA BUZZ GOING INTO THE FINAL DAYS OF THE PRIMARY.

AT THE SAME TIME WE'VE SEEN GOVERNOR CUOMO MAKE A NUMBER OF MISTAKES, HAVE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING HIM, A MAILER FROM THE STATE PARTY GOING TO THE ORTHODOX JEWISH COMMUNITY.

WE KNOW KNOW HOW MUCH THE CUOMO CAMPAIGN HAD TO DO WITH IT.

NIXON HAD A FEW THINGS WORKING TO HER ADVANTAGE THE LAST FEW DAYS.

OF COURSE WE SEE GOVERNOR CUOMO INCREDIBLY HIGH IN THE POLLS.

IT LOOKS LIKE HE'S CRUSHING CYNTHIA NIXON.

FRED, HOW DO YOU SEE THE TURNOUT FOR PERHAPS HER BASE?

IT'S A THURSDAY.

EVERYONE FROM LIKE THE TIME YOU'RE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, YOU LEARN THAT VOTING HAPPENS ON TUESDAYS WHETHER IT'S IN NOVEMBER OR ELSEWHERE.

ALMOST LIKE THE HOLY DAY OF THE WEEK FOR VOTING.

YET HERE WE ARE VOTING ON A THURSDAY.

SO WE EXPECT THAT TO BE -- TO DEPRESS VOTING A LITTLE BIT.

WE EXPECT THE WEATHER TO BE OFF.

THAT COULD DEPRESS VOTING A LITTLE BIT.

ON THE OTHER HAND THERE IS A LOT OF ENERGY PARTICULARLY IN THE LEFT WING OF THE PARTY.

PEOPLE ARE ANGRY ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP.

PEOPLE ARE FIRED UP ON THE LEFT W WING.

THERE WAS THIS BIG TRIUMPH OF SUCCESS ALEXANDRA CORTEZ HAD.

I THINK WE'LL SEE A DECENT TURNOUT, A HIGHER TURNOUT THAN WE DID FOUR YEARS AGO.

I THINK ONE THE BIG QUESTION IS HOW MUCH ANGER THERE IS ABOUT ANDREW CUOMO.

THERE ARE A LOT OF ACTIVISTS WHO ARE UNHAPPY WITH THE WAY HE'S GOVERNED BELIEVING HE'S TOO MUCH OF A CENTRIST, HE'S PROPPED UP REPUBLICAN CONTROL IN THE STATE SENATE WHICH HAS ENABLED HIM TO BE A TRIANGULATER FROM THE CLINTON BRANCH OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

WE DON'T REALLY KNOW HOW MUCH THAT'S GOING TO TRANSLATE TO VOTES FOR NIXON.

PEOPLE ARE FRUSTRATED ABOUT THE SUBWAYS, PEOPLE ARE FRUSTRATED ABOUT A LACK OF VOTING REFORM, CAMPAIGN FINANCE RYE FORM, THINGS OF THAT NATURE.

IT'S HARD TO KNOW HOW MANY VOTES IT WILL TRANSLATE TO.

AND CORRUPTION, GOVERNOR CUOMO'S TOP AIDES, JOE PROCOCO WAS INDICT AND HAD CONVICTED.

I'M SURPRISED HOW LITTLE THAT STUCK IN A WAY, HOW LITTLE TRACTION CENT IYNTHIA NIXON HAS ABLE TO GET OUT OF THAT.

HOW MANY VOTERS ARE INFURIATED.

MANY ARE, PRIMARY VOTERS ARE A SPECIAL BREED.

THEY'RE PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW POLITICS AND THEY'RE MOTIVATED TO SHOW UP.

OF COURSE, THEN AGAIN WE'LL SEE IF ANYBODY CAN GET NEW VOTERS, NONVOTERS INTO NEW VOTERS AS OCASIO SAID.

YOU MENTIONED CORRUPTION.

THAT DOES TURN MY ATTENTION TO THE OTHER BIG RACE WE'VE SEEN A LOT OF MONEY PUT BO AND THAT THE THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL PRIMARY.

IT'S WIDE OPEN.

FOUR CANDIDATES, ALICIA IS ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN.

LETITIA JAMES, PATRICK MALONEY, IT COULD BE ANYBODY'S PRIMARY.

WE DON'T KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING TO GO.

IF YOU WANT TO BELIEVE THE POLLING, THEY'RE ALL PRETTY CLOSE SO WHAT'S IT GOING TO COME DOWN TO?

AGAIN, CAN TISH JAMES GET THE TURNOUT SHE NEEDS IN NEW YORK CITY?

ARE THEY SPLITTING THE HUDSON VALLEY UPSTATE BASE?

AND -- A LOT OF BOOST, THE EDITORIAL BOARD, BERNIE SANDERS.

DOES THAT HELP HER WITH THE ACTIVIST BASE SO FIRED UP.

THE THIRD TIME COULD BE THE CHARM FOR HER.

SHE TRIED AGAINST GOVERNOR CUOMO FOUR YEARS AGO AND DID BETTER THAN ANYONE EXPECTED CONSIDERING SHE HAD ZERO NAME RECOGNITION.

ALTHOUGH VERY INTERESTING AND DRAMATIC NAME IN A WAY.

SHE QUICKLY GOT RECOGNITION AFTER A FASHION, BUT SHE GOT A THIRD OF THE VOTE WITH NO MONEY TO SPEAK OF THEN.

SHE RAN A SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN FOR CONGRESS TWO YEARS AGO, BUT, YOU KNOW, INCHED FORWARD A LITTLE BIT.

YOU KNOW, I WOULDN'T HAVE NECESSARILY PREDICTED HER TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE AND WIN AT THIS TIME, BUT SHE HAS PICKED UP SOME MOMENTUM AND THOSE ENDORSEMENTS I THINK REALLY SPEAK TO A LOT OF SKEPTICISM ABOUT TISH JAMES WHO MANY PEOPLE CONSIDER THE EARLY FAVORITE, YOU KNOW.

SHE IS A WOMAN THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DO RESPECT.

SHE'S PAID A LOT OF DUES, COME UP THROUGH THE RANKS.

I THINK THERE IS A LOT OF SKEPTICISM TO HER PROXIMITY TO GOVERNOR CUOMO, TO THE DEMOCRATIC MACHINE, THE ESTABLISHMENT, BUT SHE DOES HAVE A LOT OF BACKING FROM THAT MACHINE.

SPEAKING OF BACK BEING FROM THE MACHINE, WE'VE SEEN COMMERCIALS, I BELIEVE THE STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS ATTEMPTING TO PACKAGE CUOMO, HOKUL, AND JAMES AS ONE TICKET EVEN THOUGH THAT'S NOT HOW IT WILL LOOK ON THE BALLOT.

IT ALL DEPENDS WHAT YOU'VE SEEN GOING IN AND HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT PACKAGE THAT THE STATE PARTY IS BACKING AND THAT GOVERNOR CUOMO IS BACKING.

YOU MENTIONED ANOTHER VERY INTERESTING RACE, THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNMENT PRIMARY, IMANI WILLIAMS.

HER NAME RECOGNITION IS NOT THAT HIGH.

CERTAINLY BECAUSE HE'S REPRESENTED A NEW YORK CITY DISTRICT AND BEEN ACTIVE IN NEW YORK CITY FOR A LONG TIME, COULD DRAW A LOT OF VOTES FROM THOSE ACT ACTI ACTIVISTS

THERE ARE ESTABLISHED CANDIDATES.

THAT COULD SHAKE UP THE MAKEUP.

INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE, THE IDC, EIGHT CHALLENGERS TO EIGHT INCUMBENTS, SIX IN NEW YORK CITY.

THOSE ARE RACES TO WATCH CERTAINLY WITH VARYING DEGREES OF PROBABILITY FOR THOSE CHALLENGERS TO PULL THOSE OFF.

THERE ARE A FEW OTHER CHALLENGES TO INCUMBENTS THAT ARE WORTH WATCHING THAT HAVE GOTTEN MEDIA ATTENTION.

THE KEY HERE IS IF SOME OF THESE IDC CHALLENGERS WIN, THAT ACTUALLY WILL ADD FODDER TO THE REPUBLICANS CAMPAIGNING EFFORTS IN LONG ISLAND AND UPSTATE DISTRICTS WHEN THEY'RE TRYING TO KEEP CONTROL OF THE SENATE IN NOVEMBER.

SO THAT'S SORT OF AN INTERESTING FAULT LINE TO WATCH COMING OUT OF PRIMARY DAY.

RIGHT.

LONG ISLAND THEY'LL SAY LOOK HOW FAR LEFT THE SENATE IS GOING.

BUT IT'S ALREADY A BIG TALKING POINT AND THEY WOULD SAY EVEN MORE SO.

DO YOU WANT TO HAND ALL OF THE REINS OF GOVERNMENT TO THE DEMOCRATS?

THE LEFT INCREASE OF DEMOCRATS.

YOU HAVE THE GOVERNOR AND BOTH THE ASSEMBLY AND THE SENATE.

THAT WILL BE SOMETHING THEY WILL BE RUNNING AGAINST.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING.

I THINK -- AND IT'S SAFE TO SAY SOME OF THE STALWARTS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, AT LEAST THE RECENT STALWARTS ARE GOING TO FALL TO SOME OF THE IDC CHALLENGERS.

WE'LL SEE WHICH ONES.

ARE THERE ANY RACES WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE, OH, MY GOD, THAT PERSON, ONE MOMENT?

I THINK THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, JAMANI WILLIAMS WOULD BE SURPRISED, PEOPLE IN THE POLITICAL WORLD WOULD BE AS WELL.

THE OTHER I WOULD NAME, THE JEFF KLEIN WHO REPRESENTS BRONX AND WESTCHESTER DISTRICT.

ALESSANDRA IS CHALLENGING HIM.

SHE SEEMS TO BE RUNNING A STRONG CAMPAIGN.

SHE HAS NAME RECOGNITION IN THE AREA.

HER GRANDFATHER USED TO REPRESENT IN CONGRESS.

THAT WOULD CERTAINLY BE A SEISMIC UPSET IF THAT ONE HAPPENED.

WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME HERE BUT I DO WANT TO ASK, YOU'VE SPOELK ENSO MUCH ABOUT ALL THINGS DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WE -- ANY UPSETS WE MIGHT EXPECT TO SEE FROM THE REPUBLICANS?

BECAUSE THIS IS ALSO THEIR PRIMARY DAY AS WELL.

SO, THAT'S ONE THING INTERESTING.

THE REPUBLICANS TOTALLY AVOIDED PRIMARIES IN THE STATEWIDE RACES.

THEY DECIDED ON THE TICKET TO GET OTHER PEOPLE OUT OF THE RACES SO THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO SPEND MONEY AND ENERGY FIGHTING THEIR PRIMARIES BECAUSE THEY HAVE A MASSIVE ENROLLMENT DISADVANTAGE FOR THE GENERAL.

SO STATEWIDE PRIMARIES ARE OFF THE TABLE FOR REPUBLICANS.

YEAH I I MEAN I THINK FRIDAY MORNING WE'LL CATCH OUR BREATH OF THE I THINK THERE WILL BE A LOT OF COMPETITION BETWEEN NOW AND NOVEMBER FOR BOTH THE STATEWIDE RACE -- SOME OF THE STATEWIDE RACES AND IN THE STATE SENATE IN PARTICULAR.

I MEAN, OVERALL, WE THINK OF THIS AS -- IT'S A MIDTERM.

THE MOMENTUM WILL GENERALLY BE I BUT WHO KNOWS.

I HAVE BEEN POINTING OUT THAT WHEN A PREVIOUS GOVERNOR CUOMO RAN AGAINST AN OBSCURE NO-NAME SENATOR FROM PEEKSKILL NEW YORK THAT NO ONE HEARD OF FOR NOT A THIRD TERM BUT A FOURTH TERM, IT SEEMED LIKE HE HAD IT IN THE BAG UNTIL HE DIDN'T.

SO WE'LL DISCUSS THE MARK MULINARO PROSPECTS DOWN THE ROAD.

BUT I THINK THERE COULD BE A LITTLE MORE COMPETITION THAN PEOPLE ARE EXPECTING.

ALL RIGHT.

FRIDAY MORNING LOOKS LIKE IT WILL BE DEFINITELY INTERESTING FOR THE THREE OF US.

GENTLEMEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH OR JOINING US ON THE PROGRAM.

WE'D LOVE TO HAVE YOU BOTH BACK POSTMORTEM ONCE IT HAPPENS.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSIGHT.

ANY TIME.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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