Former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon has announced she will run for governor of the state of New York, challenging incumbent Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination.
- Cynthia Nixon says healthcare and public transport are among priorities
- New York Governor Mario Cuomo is seeking his third term
- Poll has Nixon well behind Mr Cuomo
Her announcement sets up a race pitting an openly gay liberal activist against a two-term incumbent with a $US30 million war chest and possible presidential ambitions.
“I love New York, and today I’m announcing my candidacy for governor,” Nixon, 51, said on Twitter.
A statement by Nixon’s campaign called her a progressive alternative to Mr Cuomo.
It said the Governor was a “centrist and Albany insider”, referring to the state capital, and mentioned the legal troubles of a number of his aides.
“We want our government to work again, on healthcare, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway,” the statement said.
“We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us.
“It can’t just be business as usual anymore.”
Mr Cuomo, 60, the son of late New York governor Mario Cuomo, is seeking his third term this year.
Nixon, a Manhattan mother of three and longtime advocate for fairness in public school funding, is aligned with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who is politically to the left of Mr Cuomo.
The two men have feuded publicly over issues such as public transport and public housing in the nation’s largest city.
Cuomo mocks Nixon’s celebrity status
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (C) and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (R) have publicly clashed on numerous issues. (Reuters: Lucas Jackson)
Nixon has in recent months given speeches and interviews calling on Democrats nationally to run “bluer” in 2018 and carve out a strong, progressive liberal identity rather than being merely “the anti-Trump party”.
Last month, at the annual New York gala of Human Rights Campaign, Nixon took a backhanded stab at the Governor’s record.
“For all the pride that we take here in being such a blue state, New York has the single worst income inequality of any state in the country,” she said.
Mr Cuomo had no immediate comment on Nixon’s candidacy.
But recently, he mocked the celebrity status the Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner could bring to the race.
“Normally name recognition is relevant when it has some connection to the endeavour,” Mr Cuomo told reporters earlier this month.
“If it was just about name recognition, then I’m hoping that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Billy Joel don’t get into the race.”
Nixon has her work cut out for her to win the nomination.
A Siena College poll released on Monday showed Mr Cuomo leading her by 66 per cent to 19 per cent among registered Democrats, and by a similar margin among self-identified liberals.
The primary is on September 13 and the general election on November 6.