Primary day looms Thursday, a test for Democratic incumbents like Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, facing challenges from insurgent candidates on the left.
“I know this campaign would have left everything on the field. There were people who thought we were crazy in January when we announced. I don't believe anyone thinks that now,” said Jumaane Williams, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.
The Brooklyn councilman was in Albany on Tuesday for the final leg of his campaign against Hochul. He would not say what would happen if he wins and Nixon loses her bid against Cuomo. At stake is the liberal Working Families Party, which took a gamble in backing Nixon over the governor and could lose its ballot status as a result.
“We have to worry about the primary. After the primary there's a fundamental question about making sure the Working Families Party is stable and strong,” said Williams.
Meanwhile there was more fallout Tuesday from Gov. Cuomo's ceremony to open the second span of the Mario Cuomo Bridge ahead of the primary. The New York Times reported the Thruway Authority sought to encourage the contractor to have the bridge ready by August. The span could not open for several days over concerns a piece of the old Tappan Zee had become destabilized.
“What we saw in that letter was clearly political influence and a desire to meet a timetable not developed by the contractor, but pushed by the administration and a willingness to have taxpayers assume liability had there been a public safety incident,” gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro (R) said.
Nixon's campaign hopes the bridge drama, plus a roundly condemned mailer accusing her of anti-Semitism, could help her in the closing days. Her campaign began airing its first TV ad.
“We can pass single-payer health care. We can end mass incarceration and invest in schools, not jails,” the ad said.
Cuomo allies pounced on the ad for airing on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. But a union that has endorsed Cuomo still aired a radio spot critical of Nixon the same day. The union says the ad was played in error.
With a day before voting begins, it's coming down to turnout for both sides. For Cuomo, it's his traditional coalition of union households and western New Yorkers. For Nixon, it's tapping into the new voters who have registered in the last two years.