Gov. Andrew Cuomo's re-election campaign over the last month has saturated the airwaves, spending $8.5 million ahead of his primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon next Thursday.
“He's taking the primary challenge very seriously. He's using all the levers of incumbency to his advantage and spending the money does that,” said Blair Horner, NYPIRG legislative director.
And Cuomo has been burning through his campaign war chest this summer.
He began July with $30 million in cash on hand. That's now down to $16 million, and only $5 million of that can be used in his primary against Nixon due to campaign finance rules. But Cuomo may be gearing up for the long haul of the November general election.
“It's a two-for-one. It helps him in the primary and it can help him in the general,” said Horner.
Cuomo, meanwhile, has also been boosting the candidacies of his preferred ticket, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Letitia James, the New York City public advocate running for attorney general.
And he's been making public appearances with James and Hochul at government events, boosting their name recognition.
“Where it gets to be more of a clearly electoral activity would be if he had people on stage with him who are not currently elected officials,” said Horner.
Now while Cuomo's campaign has been able to pay for large statewide advertising buys on TV, Nixon's campaign doesn't have that kind of money. So they're going on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. They hope that targeting voters there, especially new voters, they'll come out and vote for her.
Nixon released a digital ad Wednesday highlighting her push to improve the subways -- an ad set to run on Facebook.
It still remains an uphill fight for Nixon in fundraising. She's raised from small-dollar donors, but has less than a half million dollars in the bank.