New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shakes hands with supporters as he arrives at a protest with students from Leadership and Public Service High School on March 14. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 13 (UPI) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday defeated primary challenger Cynthia Nixon, a former actress who jumped into the gubernatorial fray this year and quickly gathered strong support from progressives.

Cuomo, running for his third term, had won 66 percent of the vote by Thursday night, according to The New York Times.

The incumbent had more than 70 percent in every New York City borough except Manhattan, where he won about 57 percent. He also won Erie County, home to the state’s second most populous city, Buffalo, with more than 62 percent.

Cuomo’s victory was expected based on polling, which had him at ahead of Nixon by about 40 percent. But Nixon excited many young voters and progressives and received a great deal of media attention and celebrity endorsements.

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She also said Cuomo’s administration is corrupt after his close aide was found guilty in March of accepting bribes. Cuomo was not accused of wrongdoing in that case.

However, Cuomo had establishment backing with endorsements from nearly every elected Democrat in the state and raised more money than Nixon.

Cuomo’s record — which has included variations of the reforms progressives seek most, like a gradual increase of the minimum wage to $15 and free state college for students whose parents make under $125,000 per year — was strong enough to keep Democrat voters loyal to the two-term governor.

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On Twitter, Nixon said her campaign and supporters pushed Cuomo to be more progressive on several issues.

“As progressives and New Yorkers, we have to hold the governor accountable for the commitments he’s made over the last 6 months,” she wrote. “But these are real victories. Some people have called this #TheCynthiaEffect. I call it what happens when we hold our leaders accountable.

“This campaign changed expectations about what’s possible in New York State. We moved issues of racial and economic justice to the forefront. We shined a light on inequality, and turned the media’s attention to forgotten communities across this state.”

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Cuomo will now face Republican candidate Marc Molinaro, a Duchess County executive and former State Assembly member.

Molinari ran uncontested in the Republican primary.

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