NY gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon holds fundraiser in Northampton

  • AP PHOTO/Mary Altaffer AP PHOTO/Mary Altaffer

Published: 7/5/2018 9:05:47 AM

NORTHAMPTON — North of 50 people showed up at the Iron Horse Music Hall on Thursday to see New York gubernatorial candidate and former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon speak.

Nixon is running as a progressive Democrat against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the state’s Democratic primary. And in her speech, she made sure to hit the governor for being too close to Republicans and moneyed interests, while also burnishing her progressive bona fides.

“Since taking office he has governed like a Republican,” Nixon said of Cuomo.

Later on in her speech, Nixon made an even more emphatic statement, saying that she has a “distinct advantage” in the Democratic Party.

“I am actually a Democrat and Andrew Cuomo is not,” said Nixon.

The event at the Iron Horse was set up by Michael Kusek of Northampton at the request of his friend Caroline Murray, who is a senior adviser on Nixon’s campaign.

“We decided to do this on Friday, you guys all showed up on Thursday, that’s pretty awesome,” he said.

He said it makes good economic sense to care about who is governor of New York, which western Massachusetts shares a border with and where he does business, as well as the importance of supporting progressive candidates around the country.

Those in attendance were asked to make suggested donations of $25, $50, $100 or $250 on the event’s Facebook page.

Legalizing marijuana, endorsing single-payer health care and backing campaign finance reform were just some of the topics Nixon broached in her speech, which met frequent applause from the gathered crowd.

Nixon also talked about family, noting that her mother was her first and forever hero who had left her troubled father.

“When she did that she saved me,” Nixon said.

She also detailed how cuts at her eldest son’s kindergarten in 2001 had galvanized her into political action on the issue of education.

“It’s easier sometimes to stand up when you stand up for your child,” she said.

One of the more dramatic moments in the speech occurred after Nixon mentioned an $87,000 donation Cuomo had received from the Koch brothers in 2010. Just as she pointed to this figure, a glass dropped to the floor and shattered.

“Are you OK? I know that’s a shocking fact,” she said, to laughter from the crowd.

She also hit Cuomo on his budgets, which she said were balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable, and his large number of high-dollar donations.

“Our campaign received more small-donor donations in the first day than Andrew Cuomo received in seven years,” she said.

She also noted the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic Party primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District against longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, D-Queens.

“That’s the way you fight a machine,” said Nixon. “You fight a machine with a movement.”

The two candidates have endorsed each other.

Following Nixon’s speech, Murray said they’d be asking those in attendance to participate in out-of-state phone banks for the campaign as well as peer-to-peer texting.

Murray also said she knew Nixon through Nixon’s wife, Christine Marinoni.

“Cynthia’s the real deal,” Murray said. “In my lifetime I have never had the opportunity to work at this level for someone who really can make the kind of change that we all care about.”

Nixon then stuck around to greet and take pictures with those who had attended.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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