New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily defeated a challenge from his left by actress Cynthia Nixon to win the Democratic nomination for a third term.

Cuomo beat Nixon by a 2-to-1 ratio — roughly the same margin as his 2014 primary victory over another liberal challenger Zephyr Teachout.

In remarks to supporters Thursday night, Nixon declared a moral victory, saying she had “fundamentally changed the political landscape” in New York by helping lead a revolt against establishment Democrats.

“We have changed what is expected of a Democratic candidate running in New York and what we can demand from our elected leaders,” Nixon said. “Some have called this the ‘Cynthia effect.’ I call it what happens when we hold our leaders accountable.”


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“There is no question that she pushed him further to the left,” said Rep. Kathleen Rice, a former Long Island prosecutor who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general with Cuomo’s endorsement in 2010, told The Washington Post.


It was a clean sweep for Cuomo’s ticket. In the attorney general’s race, Letitia James, the New York City public advocate and Cuomo’s choice, won the Democratic nomination in a four-way race, with  Zephyr Teachout finishing second. His running-mate, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, also won in her primary fight against New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams.

Cuomo hugely outspent Nixon, pouring at least $25 million into his campaign to run a blizzard of television ads. Polls had shown him leading her by 30 to 40 points.

“When others were underestimating us, he did not,” Nixon said in her concession speech. “And he spent accordingly.”

While Nixon scored a record number of small donors for a New York race, she struggled to collect larger donations, pulling in a total of just under $2.5 million with about 10 days left in the race.

The governor did not attend the Democratic Party’s primary celebration in Manhattan, instead choosing to watch the results come in privately with family and friends in Albany.

Nor did he choose to issue a statement marking his victory, with his campaign simply tweeting out a photo of him, Hochul and James with a four-work message: “Thank you New York.”

Nixon gave a passionate concession speech, congratulating Cuomo but taking credit for pushing him to the left.

“While the result tonight wasn’t what we had hoped for, I’m not discouraged,” Nixon said. “I’m inspired and I hope you are, too, because before even a single vote was cast in this election, we had already won.”

Cuomo now faces a less than 60-day sprint of a general election against the Republican, Marcus Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive who was once the youngest mayor in the nation.

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