ALBANY — Former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon said Monday on Twitter she is running for governor in New York.
“I love New York, and today I’m announcing my candidacy for governor. Join us,” Nixon wrote in a message accompanied by a two-minute video in which she says she is “sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us.”
Nixon will be challenging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in a Democratic primary in September.
Nixon, 51, has been a longtime advocate for more funding for public schools and a critic of what she calls unequal distribution of education funds.
But in her announcement, she reached for a wider focus, painting a much different picture of today’s New York than Cuomo presents.
“Our leaders are letting us down,” Nixon said, in her video announcement, in a not-so-veiled shot at the governor.
While the governor often contends that “all the arrows” — meaning economic indicators — are “pointing up,” Nixon described “our broken subway,” upstate poverty and a distinction as the most economically “unequal state in the entire nation.”
“How did we let this happen?” Nixon asks.
Moving toward her conclusion, she adds: “It can’t just be business as usual anymore. . . . This is a time to stick our necks out. . . . This is a time to fight.”
The ad ends with a visual of Nixon riding an Amtrak train north along the Hudson River and the conductor announcing, “Next stop: Albany.”
Besides the video, Nixon also started a campaign website and registered a campaign committee with the state Board of Elections, both called “Cynthia for New York.”
Within an hour of her announcement Monday, “Cynthia Nixon” became the No. 1 trending item on Twitter, and “Miranda,” her “Sex and the City” character’s name, ranked No. 3.
The would-be Democratic contest would pit a two-term governor who has $30 million in his campaign account against a first-time candidate who likely would have energetic backing from a progressive wing of the party, which believes the incumbent hasn’t done enough for liberal causes.
Cuomo faced a similar matchup in 2014 against an unknown Fordham University professor, Zephyr Teachout, who surprisingly captured 34 percent of the vote in the primary. In Nixon, he would be fighting someone with higher name recognition and a friend of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo’s Democratic rival.
But Nixon’s bid also comes after the governor has taken several steps to placate liberal critics, such as boosting the state minimum wage for most workers to $15 per hour and expanding the number of students who could qualify for free public-college tuition.
Teachout will serve as Nixon’s campaign treasurer.
“It’s great that we live in a democracy where anyone can run for office,” Cuomo campaign spokesman Austin Shafran said in an email. He said Cuomo has “delivered more real progressive wins than any other Democrat in the country,” listing the legalization of gay marriage, the new minimum wage law, a gun-control law and the ban on hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas. Shafran added: “We look forward to building on that record as we continue to fight and deliver for New York families statewide.”
The top contenders for the Republican nomination, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and state Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), said Nixon’s entry into the campaign would be “great.”
“That’s great news for our campaign, as Andrew Cuomo will be forced to take on a high-profile challenge from a celebrity-activist who is guaranteed the spotlight from the state and national media,” Molinaro said in an email to supporters.
Cynthia Ellen Nixon
Hometown: New York City
Education: Hunter College High School, Barnard College.
Experience: Actress. Best known for portraying Miranda Hobbes in “Sex and the City” on HBO. Among her awards are a Primetime Emmy in 2004 for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series and a Tony in 2006 for best actress in a play for “Rabbit Hole.”
Family: Married to Christine Marinoni, with whom she has one child. Previously married to Danny Mozes, with whom she had two children.