After months of rumors about a potential leap into politics, Cynthia Nixon announced she's running for New York governor with a campaign video she released Monday afternoon. The Sex and the City star is challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in September's Democratic primary. "Our leaders are letting us down," she says in the newly released video.
Nixon's announcement focused on the fact that she was born and raised in New York — "New York is my home. I've never lived anywhere else." But it also outlined her platform in the gubernatorial race, suggesting that education, poverty, health care, mass incarceration, and transportation will be major tenets of her campaign.
"I'm a proud public school graduate and a prouder public school parent," she says in the video. "I was given chances I just don't see for most of New York's kids today."
Rumors that Nixon would challenge Cuomo, who's seeking a third term as governor, began in August when The Wall Street Journal reported that progressive groups were encouraging Nixon to throw her hat in the ring. NY1 reported earlier this month that two former campaign aides to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were helping the actress prepare to run for office, but Nixon hadn't confirmed a run until Monday.
Though she's never run for political office, Nixon's not totally new to politics. She became an advocate for public schools in recent years, publicly criticizing both Cuomo and the U.S. education secretary, Betsy DeVos, for championing charter schools.
"My sons Max and Charlie and the 2.7 million other school children across our state are counting on Cuomo," she wrote in a USA Today op-ed last March. "We ask again for him, at long last, to grant these students the education our state owes them. You can't claim New York will be a 'progressive beacon' unless you actually make it one."
Monday's announcement made it clear she's still dedicated to fighting for public schools over charter schools, as well as tackling the social and economic problems causing New York children to live in poverty. "We are now the most unequal state in the entire country, with both incredible wealth and extreme poverty," she says in her announcement video. "Half the kids in our upstate cities live below the poverty line. How did we let this happen?"
As for the other issues her campaign will center around, her announcement mentioned health care, mass incarceration, and New York City's failing subway system.
Her video also took subtle jabs at Cuomo without ever mentioning him by name. "We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us," she says.
Her campaign website, on the other hand, also pulled no punches. "Unlike the current leadership in Albany, Cynthia rides the New York subway nearly every day, and understands the toll that the mismanagement of the MTA is taking on everyday New Yorkers," it reads. (The site wasn't loading Monday afternoon, likely buckling under the high volume of traffic.)
The donation page she tweeted out as part of her announcement describes her as "a lifelong New Yorker and progressive activist who is running for governor to fight for a better, more equal New York." It further says she won't accept any donations from corporations, but will fund her campaign "by the people." Nixon's estimated net worth is $60 million, though it's unclear how much of her own money she'll use in her bid for office.
New York's Democratic primary will take place on Sept. 13. Cuomo faced two Democratic challengers in 2014, ultimately taking 63 percent of the vote. This year, Nixon hopes to present a tougher challenge for the incumbent governor.