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Cynthia Nixon continues to explore a run for

Cynthia Nixon continues to explore a run for New York governor. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Roy Rochlin

Good afternoon and welcome to The Point! Today we’re mourning the loss of former Newsday journalist Les Payne; read some of his recent writing for us here.

Daily Point

Nixon’s grand entrance

Conventional thinking says that the entry of actress and advocate Cynthia Nixon into the battle for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination is bad for incumbent Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo and good for the state Republican Party and its eventual candidate.

But with conventional political thinking’s recent collapse, perhaps that’s worth a harder look.

As Nixon, 51, runs from the far left and promises even more money for the MTA, public housing, education and public-sector union workers, along with a raft of progressive social policies, Cuomo will get pulled left to beat her back. To do so, he’ll have to get on board with more spending, and he’ll have to appear to be open to higher taxes in the process.

In a conventional political world, Cuomo getting beat up in a primary would be an opening for state GOP Chairman Ed Cox and his party’s eventual gubernatorial pick to swoop in from the right and paint Cuomo as a loony liberal.

But Nixon’s entry is likely to be bad news for the GOP gubernatorial candidate and good news for Cuomo, at least as it relates to his potential presidential ambitions.

Anything can happen when an untested New York celebrity runs for office, as we all now know. But Nixon, renowned and glamorous thanks to her “Sex in the City” role, will create a hot primary that garners tons of national media but still leaves her losing to Cuomo by a very healthy margin. And that takes all the oxygen away from the GOP, and its two contenders, State Sen. John DeFrancisco, who hails from upstate, and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, from now until September.

With only so much bandwidth for state political news, how much are DeFran and Molinaro going to generate?

Meanwhile, the Nixon primary will have generated tremendous national coverage in which Cuomo is painted not as a leftie liberal but as a centrist driving the leftie liberals loopy. Which is exactly what he will need, as a New Yorker who last name ends in a vowel, if he is to have any shot at the White House.

Cuomo could come off as engaging, or as enraging. And the eventual GOP candidate could set the imagination of the electorate on fire, or put it to sleep. But Nixon’s entrance into the race is a true wild card, and it’s too early to say how this joker is going to change the hand.

Lane Filler

Talking Point

Comey decoded

Debut author Jim from Yonkers has really leaned into his Twitter platform lately, and he’s gotten great traction via social media back-and-forths with influencer President Donald Trump.

The publicists for James Comey’s sort-of tell-all “A Higher Loyalty” sure must be happy. After a weekend in which Comey and the FBI featured prominently on Trump’s Twitter, the book was at No. 2 on Amazon’s print bestseller list Monday, a month before its scheduled April 17 release.

The publisher — Flatiron Books, part of media giant Macmillan — is keeping the text under wraps. A publishing source tells The Point that the title does not appear to be on regular company servers for download, which most books are.

According to Politico, the defenses go further: Flatiron “has implemented a password-protected electronic system so that only those involved in the project have access to it.”

The project is stored under a code name and warehouse workers responsible for shipping copies of the book “are being asked to sign nondisclosure agreements,” the outlet reports.

Perhaps the secrecy will keep some revelations fresh at least for a few weeks. After publication, Comey starts an extensive coast-to-coast book tour, plus TV appearances with the likes of George Stephanopoulos and Stephen Colbert that start even before release. By the time the former FBI director appears for his speaking gig at the Long Island Association’s spring luncheon on May 15, however, is there anything his audience wouldn’t already know?

“All of our guests have been huge public figures who have said or written many things before coming to LI,” said LIA president Kevin Law, who is not worried that Comey will be overexposed. Ticket sales are outpacing Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Dick Cheney. Said Law: “I have always been able to get them to say things we never knew or heard before.”

Mark Chiusano and Rita Ciolli

Pencil Point

Freedom to unfriend

Pointing Out

LIRR snow day

The Long Island Rail Road postponed its first “LIRR Listens” session — originally scheduled for Wednesday afternoon — due to the expected snowstorm.

But that just may mean managers will get an even bigger earful when they finally hold their planned conversation with commuters. After all, snow too often brings problems for the railroad: delays, cancellations, and more.

Luckily, the railroad’s Darth Vader snowplow, which had been damaged after it was hit by a car and was unavailable for the Jan. 4 blizzard, is back in service. That should help.

And at least the LIRR has learned from past mistakes, such as the horrific incident in December 2009, when a Ronkonkoma-bound train got stuck in the snow, leaving 150 riders stranded for hours. After the backlash that ensued, then-LIRR President Helena Williams ended the so-called “run and rescue” policy of sending trains in the snow, and then trying to tow them if they ran into problems.

Instead, the LIRR now cancels trains and suspends service when more than 10 inches of snow falls.

But even that policy isn’t perfect. After all, the LIRR then has to decide when to suspend service, a tricky call when commuters may head into Manhattan in the morning, and then need a way to get home. If the call to stop the trains is made too late, trains can get stuck anyway.

So, keep an eye on the LIRR Wednesday. And look out for the rescheduled LIRR Listens session. There may be a lot to talk about.

Randi F. Marshall


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