What the heck is going on in the New York State governor’s race? With two days to go, Andrew Cuomo is sitting on a better than forty point lead over Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon. And those are very fresh poll numbers. The only shifts we’ve seen over polling from earlier in the summer have been in Cuomo’s direction. Nixon has zero momentum on her side and almost no money to spend on a last-minute campaign push. So why is Cuomo burning through his entire war chest running ads, making appearances all over the state and in every imaginable way acting like a guy who is trying to come from behind in a close race? (Politico)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is determined not to become the latest casualty of the progressive uprising of 2018 on Thursday — that’s why he’s spending feverishly in his primary campaign against Cynthia Nixon, trying to juice turnout through direct mail and touting infrastructure projects across the state.
But both camps remained on edge in the waning hours of the New York Democratic primary, as the volatility of this year‘s primary cycle hung over deep blue New York and the governor took sharp criticism for his campaign tactics after the state party machinery that he controls sent out a flier accusing Nixon of anti-Semitism — a move that appeared aimed at bringing some Jewish voters out to the polls.
Cuomo, widely assumed to harbor presidential ambitions, is a notoriously fastidious campaigner, ever-mindful of his father Mario’s losing bid for a fourth term as governor, and sources close to his campaign said in that respect, this year is no different than when he fended off a primary challenge from Zephyr Teachout in 2014.
Cuomo has reportedly spent an average of a half million per day for the past couple of weeks. Some of his supporters just describe him as a “cautious and thorough” campaigner, which is certainly true. But… come on, man. There’s something else going on here.
Do both of these campaigns know something we don’t? Something that’s not showing up in the major polling company results? Nixon has been saying that for months, claiming that there’s a “hidden” voting block out there that will put her over the top. But we hear that all the time from long-shot candidates and it pretty much never happens. The polls might be off by a little… perhaps even outside the margin of error. But we’re talking about errors of five to seven points. Not forty.
Personally, I suspect that Cuomo has actually bought into all the hype himself. He saw what happened with Joe Crowley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and now he’s hitting the panic button. As Politico notes, Cuomo is widely known to fancy himself as a plausible 2020 presidential contender (even if he’s the only one that thinks so) and blowing a race like this would be an utter humiliation. It’s too late at this point for some sort of 11th-hour bombshell news breaking to tank his chances.
Or just maybe we’re all… wrong? If Nixon wins this race it’s going to crash the political polling business and see everyone going back to the drawing board to find out how we all got it so wrong. Heck… if she comes within 20 points it will probably have the same result. But I’ll believe Cynthia Nixon is going to be the next governor when I see her being sworn in and not before.