NEW YORK—If you were a Democratic primary voter in New York this summer, you would have assumed Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the fight of his political life.
You would have seen the television airwaves blanketed with ads for his campaign, including an urgent, direct-to-camera plea from former Vice President Joe Biden. Your mailbox would have been inundated with glossy fliers touting the two-term governor’s progressive achievements—legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, hiking the minimum wage, mandating paid family leave, and tightening gun laws. You would have seen Cuomo jump at every chance to attack President Donald Trump and pledge his administration to the defense of New Yorkers—immigrants, women, and minority voters in particular—against the president’s conservative policies. You would have smelled whiffs of desperation in reports that the governor had tried to rush the opening of a major new bridge named for his late father, and that his campaign was implicated in efforts to portray his opponent to Jewish voters as “soft on anti-Semitism.”
By the size and ferocity of Cuomo’s reelection campaign, you would think the governor was in serious danger of losing to his progressive challenger, Cynthia Nixon. Yet when the ballots are counted in New York’s gubernatorial primary on Thursday night, the surprise won’t be if Cuomo defeats the actress and activist—it’ll be if he wins by less than 20 points.