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Cynthia Nixon blasted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a speech at the Legislative Correspondents Association dinner this week.
Repeatedly slamming his progressive credentials, Nixon, who is challenging Cuomo for the Democratic nomination in this year’s gubernatorial election, also referenced Cuomo’s father’s campaign for mayor in 1977, in which Mario Cuomo became associated with the slogan “Vote for Cuomo, not the homo.”
“Andrew Cuomo is known for dirty politics, but I have to give credit where it’s due,” Nixon told the audience. “His history of cutthroat campaigns helped inspire my campaign’s new slogan: ‘Vote for the homo, not for the Cuomo.'”
The award-winning actress and progressive activist also addressed criticism she’d received from former Speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn, who called Nixon, who identifies as bisexual, an “unqualified lesbian” after she announced her candidacy in March. (Quinn later apologized for the remark.)
“Cuomo thinks that I should stick to acting, but after seeing Cuomo try to play the part of a progressive, I think he should stick to politics,” Nixon said. “His performance has not been very convincing of late. You might say he’s an unqualified thespian.”
Nixon also joked that Cuomo should come out, albeit as a Republican.
“The rumors have been out there for years, she said to laughter. “He’s not fooling anyone. Who knows why he stayed in the closet this long? Maybe he thought it would hurt his career. Maybe he was afraid of disappointing his father.
“It must not be easy growing up feeling like you’re different from everyone else, being red in a blue state,” Nixon continued. “So on behalf of somebody who’s been there, I just want to say, Andrew, it’s okay to come out and live openly as you are. Your donors won’t love you any less.”
The Democratic Primary is Sept. 13, and the latest poll from Quinnipiac shows Cuomo leading Nixon 50% to 28%, with 22% undecided.
However, while Cuomo’s lead is commanding — and he fares well against potential Republican candidates — Nixon’s numbers have continued to rise since she announced her candidacy. A Siena College poll from March had Nixon trailing 66% to 19%, with 9% undecided. Still, she needs to dramatically increase her numbers to be viable for the Primary.
“Actress Cynthia Nixon is a nuisance to Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he seeks a third term, but at this stage she is not running strong enough to make either the Democratic Primary or General Election challenge successful,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Only half the electorate knows her. And in a 3-way race that includes Republican Marc Molinaro, Gov. Cuomo does about as well as his two challengers combined.”
Watch Nixon’s full speech below:
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