The New York Times ran a piece looking at Hillary and Bill Clinton's plans for the midterm elections, if and to what degree the former presidential candidate and president will get involved. And there's one area where Hillary isn't holding back: the New York governors race. Clinton isn't endorsing Cynthia Nixon; instead she'll be backing the incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the state Democratic Convention on Wednesday, her spokesperson confirmed to The Times.
Despite Nixon's improving poll numbers, she's still more than 20 points behind Cuomo. Clinton's endorsement of Cuomo will strengthen his bid before the Sept. 13 primary. In fact, Clinton choosing sides could anger some who are trying to push the party to the left.
Clinton remains popular in New York and among the many liberal Democrats there, but the race could potentially further drive a wedge between liberal Democrats and those who are loyal to the party and support more mainstream candidates like Cuomo — kind of like the division between Clinton in the primary against Bernie Sanders. Bustle has reached out to Clinton for comment.
Interestingly, both Nixon and Cuomo supported Clinton in the 2016 race against Sanders. Cuomo's endorsement was vital to her winning some of the more rural parts of the state. Plus, the Clintons have known him for a long time. Cuomo served in Bill's administration as housing secretary from 1997 to 2001. Before that he served as an assistant secretary for community planning and development at that government agency.
Nixon did speak out early, though, that she would be in Clinton's camp. "I assume Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee," Nixon told Bloomberg News in 2015. "I will be supportive of Hillary. I was an Obama supporter in 2008. I’m a Hillary person now."
Whether Nixon would have sought out Clinton's approval is unclear. She has been supported by Our Revolution, the group that formed following Bernie Sanders' campaign and has tried to support progressive candidates.
Clinton's endorsement won't end Nixon's campaign though. She's planning to attend the Democrat Party convention, the same place where Clinton will announce her endorsement.
“New York Democrats deserve to have at least one actual Democratic candidate for governor at their state convention," Nixon said in a statement. "As Governor Cuomo has said himself, he’s run this state in a way that would make any Republican proud." She continued:
The Governor and his allies have bullied progressive community groups and rallied the full force of the big money establishment because they know he doesn’t have any progressive credentials to stand on. But I won’t be scared out of the room. New Yorkers deserve a choice.
Cuomo has so far stayed quiet about the endorsement, though a spokesperson from his campaign did confirm Clinton's support to The Times.
Clinton will not be the only progressive woman to endorse Cuomo for reelection. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has already done so. "I support Gov. Cuomo’s re-election — wholeheartedly," Pelosi said after a gun control bill signing ceremony in early May. "Of course!"
Clinton will likely remain quiet in many races across the country as she remains unpopular with Republicans following Trump's continued attacks. That means that in her other big-name endorsement this fall, of Stacey Abrams for Georgia governor, she will refrain from making a public statement. Instead she will record a message for calls to Democrats.
The former presidential candidate said Abrams is "the only candidate with bold new plans to ensure that Georgians have access to good jobs, quality public schools, affordable childcare, and higher education.” What she'll say about Cuomo remains to be seen.