For months, there were rumours swirling around that Cynthia Nixon – who you might know as Miranda from Sex and the City – was going to run for Governor of New York.
And it’s official. The native New Yorker announced her candidacy last Monday, and in true celeb style, caused a media frenzy.
Her name will be splashed on headlines across the world for the next few months, so we break down everything you need to know about Nixon’s bid to be governor – and the ultimate power woman.
HOW DID CYNTHIA NIXON MAKE THE ANNOUNCEMENT?
She announced it on Twitter, where she posted a campaign video featuring her wife, Christine Marinoni, and their son Max. The video is both powerful and endearing, and takes us through Nixon’s everyday life in New York: she strolls the city streets, drops off her kid at school and rides the subway. As the footage plays, Nixon lists her reasons for running and what she’ll be fighting for.
These are the best soundbites.
“New York is my home. I’ve never lived anywhere else,” she says. “I’m a proud public school graduate, and an even prouder public school parent.”
“Our leaders are letting us down. We are now the most unequal state in the entire country, with both incredible wealth and extreme poverty.”
“We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us.”
WHAT ARE CYNTHIA NIXON’S QUALIFICATIONS?
This is Nixon’s first attempt at running for public office – but it’s not her first foray into politics. She’s a long-time activist for women, schools and the LGBTQ community.
She’s a public education advocate.
As Nixon said in her ad, she went to public school in NY, and sends her three kids to public school. The issues clouding state schools are close to her heart, and in the early 2000s, when then-NY mayor, Michael Bloomberg, proposed cutting the schools’ budget, she rallied. She’s also a spokesperson for the Alliance for Quality Education, a group that fights for fair and equal funding for school districts.
She’s lobbied for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights.
Nixon’s sexuality was thrown in the spotlight last week, when former City Council speaker, Christine Quinn, called her an “unqualified lesbian.” First of all, Nixon is bisexual – back in 2008, she told The Telegraph, “I’m just a woman in love with another woman.” She was talking about her wife Christine Marinoni, who she met at an LGBTQ rally. Nixon lobbied for same-sex marriage in New York and Washington, and gave a speech at NY’s Stonewall Inn last year to show solidarity.
Oh, and her reaction to the “unqualified lesbian” jab was amazing. Nixon tweeted: “I don’t have my certificate from the Department of Lesbian Affairs, but in my defense, there is a lot of paperwork involved.” #BOSS
She supports women’s and reproductive rights.
Nixon’s a staple figure at the Women’s March in New York. She spoke at the 2017 rally, and convinced Helen Mirren and Whoopi Goldberg to hop on stage this year. She’s also a champion of a woman’s right to choose – she’s penned essays, and given speeches at Planned Parenthood events.
She’s backed prominent politicians in the past.
She’s campaigned for big-name pollies like President Obama, and New York mayor, Bill de Blasio.
She’s used to media attention.
Okay, this isn’t political, but thanks to Nixon’s celeb status, she’s well aware of the constant scrutiny and lack of privacy that come with being in the public eye. It takes a certain kind of strength, and from all accounts, she can handle it.
WHY IS SHE RUNNING NOW?
Nixon’s basic answer is: why not?
But when you dig even deeper, she says the past year was a huge turning point, politics-wise, with Hillary Clinton losing the election to Donald Trump. Inspired by the Women’s March, she adds that it’s time women take the reins.
In an interview with Glamour, she said: “It wasn’t just a day to scream and cry and to go home and forget about. It was a shot over the bow, like, ‘We’re here, and there’s a lot of us, and we’re not going away. You’re going to have to contend with us.’”
She’s also on record saying that someone needs to run against Andrew Cuomo, who’s been Governor of New York for eight years. Nixon believes he is a “bully.”
WHO IS CYNTHIA NIXON RUNNING AGAINST?
She will be challenging Governor Andrew Cuomo, who’s also a Democrat, and has been in the prestigious position since 2011. They will go head-to-head at the ‘primary’ election in September, which is when two candidates from the same party run against each other to take out the top spot.
For a bit of background, Cuomo is part of a political family. His dad, Mario Cuomo, was the Governor of New York for three terms (1983-1994) – and his son has just matched that.
According to the New York Times, Cuomo already has $30 million of campaign funding behind him. He’s the favourite to win, but his popularity has dropped since 2014 (the last election), and it’s still early days. He’s stepped up his political game, too: since Nixon’s announcement, he’s visited New York City public housing for the first time in years and protested with gun control activists. He also suggested Nixon’s run is part of “the political silly season.”
Nixon’s not the only contender in the race. At the moment, two other people are running against Cuomo: former State Senator Terry Gipson, and comedian-slash-activist Randy Credico.
If Nixon wins, she’d be the Democrats’ nomination for governor – and she’ll then go up against a Republican opponent in November.
And if she wins that, she’d be the state’s first female and openly bisexual governor.
WHO IS FUNDING HER CAMPAIGN?
Nixon’s campaign will be “powered by the people.” On her campaign website, she says she is not accepting corporate contributions.
WHAT POLICIES AND ISSUES IS CYNTHIA NIXON PUSHING?
So, Nixon wants to be most powerful elected official in the Big Apple. To get there, she’s putting her energy behind a few major issues. As a ‘Democratic populist’, she’s focusing on ordinary people, aka the ‘little fish,’ who make up the majority of the population.
She’s fighting for:
Public transport. The subway system is a huge headache in New York, and Nixon says she’ll make them run properly again by improving their infrastructure, rather than just making cosmetic changes – which Cuomo has been heavily criticised for doing. Even though she can probably catch cabs – or limos! – everywhere, the star is often spotted riding the subway, so it’s safe to say she knows about its problems.
Education funding. As a BIG public school advocate, Nixon wants to provide more state aid to poor school districts, such as those in upstate New York. She’s pushing to increase spending by more than $1 billion annually.
Income inequality. Nixon talks a lot about closing the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor in New York (and Cuomo’s part in slashing taxes on the wealthy). She’s hoping to turn those tax breaks around, and give the working and middle-class what they need most: fair incomes, affordable housing, and funding for youth programs and social services.
Words by Katia Iervasi.