Governor Andrew Cuomo recently lost his highly touted bid for reelection to the rising political star, Cynthia Nixon.
It was a devastating loss for Cuomo, who once looked like he was on his way to becoming president. But instead, he may have handed that position to Nixon, who more so than Cuomo, captured the public’s growing distaste for Albany dysfunction.
With Cuomo out of the way, Nixon saw her chances for statewide election boosted.
So how did Nixon catapult from outsider to revolutionary? The answer to that question lies in her defiant and willing willingness to go up against the heavily-favored incumbent, and the narrative that Cuomo was destined to fail since the beginning.
“I think I did my job pretty well in spite of the limitations of the rules that I was afforded in order to do so,” she said.
Nixon launched her challenge in March with a policy agenda that appealed to voters tired of the state’s dysfunction and championed by the media.
Her platform centered on a central theme: A radical change in the way government operates, in which Governor Cuomo, out of power, sets the agenda.
Nixon claimed Cuomo had failed to lead on issues from student debt to child care to housing affordability. And she emphasized that the notion of a governor simply “pushing through an agenda” is an ineffective and dangerous strategy for governing.
With one mission in mind — to take on and upset the incumbent — Nixon’s campaign was a full-time job. She worked nonstop out of her home and used a network of small donors and volunteer networks to collect voter signatures to get on the ballot.
In the end, she collected over 1 million more petition signatures than Cuomo needed. That gave her the advantage in the first round of balloting. But in the second, Cuomo just barely edged out Nixon, overcoming her enthusiasm with his much larger war chest.