Earlier this week we talked about the vexing problem facing liberals in New York State. Having lost her primary bid against Governor Andrew Cuomo, actress and activist Cynthia Nixon was still on the ballot in the governor’s race on the Working Families Party (WFP) line. This threatens to siphon away votes from Cuomo if disgruntled supporters of the new Democratic Socialist movement decide to vote for her anyway. But with only five weeks until the election it remained unclear how they were going to get Nixon off the ballot.
They appear to at least believe they’ve found the legal means to do so. While a number of other schemes have been considered, their original plan in the event that Nixon lost the primary was to run her for the State Assembly in the 66th district where she lives. They had a placeholder candidate on their ballot in that race who was standing by to be removed so Nixon could take his place. (As per New York’s byzantine election laws, past a certain date you can only be taken off the ballot by being appointed to another government office, running for a different office, moving out of the state or dying.) Last I’d heard, Nixon hadn’t gone along with the plan and had made demands which needed to be met before she would agree. But something happened, and Zack Fink posted the filing by the WFP this morning indicating their intentions.
— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) October 3, 2018
So the WFP found a way to take Doug Seidman off the ballot in the 66th and are submitting Cynthia Nixon in his place. They did it by nominating Seidman for a judgeship last week. That was the plan all along, but there are questions remaining. Doesn’t Nixon have to file to run for the Assembly first? I mean, they can’t just go pick a name out of a hat and nominate anyone they choose if the person has no interest in running, right?
New York’s Board of Elections is still going to have to approve the change and they’ve already waited a long time to finalize the ballots for printing. Since the state government is controlled almost entirely by Democrats they’ll likely be motivated to do anything they can to keep Cuomo’s position safe. But they’ll also have to make sure they’ve followed the law, particularly since the local press is really digging into this story every week.
Here’s an exit question to consider. Assuming they pull this transparently phony scheme off and Nixon is on the ballot for the Assembly in the 66th, what if she wins? Her name recognition in Greenwich Village has to be near 100% and she’s very popular. Will she actually go out and campaign against herself, begging everyone not to vote for her even though she’s submitted herself as a candidate? If she wins she’ll knock 10 term incumbent Deborah Glick out of office. And what then? Do you really expect Cynthia Nixon to go to Albany and actually serve in the Assembly? Would she just not show up for work or resign as soon as she’s sworn in? Either way, the WFP has removed all pretense of seriousness from this situation and made a complete joke out of the election process.