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NY Primary: Cuomo Romps, Progressives Break Independent Democratic Caucus

Campaign 2018 Editor's Blog Elections

NY Primary: Cuomo Romps, Progressives Break Independent Democratic Caucus


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo swept past insurgent Democrat Cynthia Nixon to win nomination for a third time in his party’s primary on Thursday with 66 percent of the vote. Despite higher turnout, Nixon tallied roughly the same percentage as challenger Zephyr Teachout four years ago.

Cuomo’s endorsed candidate for Attorney General, Letitia James, also won a hotly contested primary against Teachout, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, and lawyer Leecia Eve. James became the first African-American woman to win a major party nomination to a top statewide office. Cuomo’s lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul also won renomination in a closer race against New York City Council member Jumaane Williams.

More surprising — and highly gratifying to progressives — were the results down ballot in State Senate primaries, where six incumbents who belonged to the formerly Republican-aligned Independent Democratic Caucus were defeated. The losers included Jeffrey Klein, the Bronx Democrat who led the caucus and spent up to $2 million on his campaign. He lost to Alessandra Biaggi, granddaughter of former Representative Mario Biaggi. These contests indicate the likelihood that progressive Democrats will control both legislative chambers in Albany next year, where they can hold Cuomo to his often unfulfilled promises of reform.

Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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