Steve Soblick

Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia Nixon’s run for governor confronted a narrow path to victory from the outset and encountered even more difficulty raising money to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo than her advisers expected—a reality that kept Nixon dialing for dollars, and out of the public view, more than hoped.

That’s according to Rebecca Katz of Hilltop Public Solutions, who served as chief strategist to Nixon’s insurgent campaign for governor, which fell well short of defeating Cuomo in last week’s Democratic primary.

Katz told the Max & Murphy show on WBAI that, besides needing to raise money, Nixon was also behind closed doors for long stretches preparing exhaustively for policy rollouts, campaign visits and the August 29th debate with the governor. For the latter event, Nixon spent 18 hour days gearing up. She performed admirably, but because she did not bait Cuomo into a serious error, veteran political reporters who were used to Cuomo’s performances scored it as a victory for the governor. “Cuomo won the room,” Katz said.

A veteran operative who helped Bill de Blasio become mayor, Katz described multiple moments when the Nixon campaign thought momentum might swing its way—after the upstate corruption trial, or the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez victory, or the governor’s “never that great” comments. But the needle never moved. Hanging over the effort from the get go was a broad awareness in the political class of the governor’s power: Katz says friends and likely allies stayed away from Nixon’s campaign claiming a fear of Cuomo’s wrath.

Hear our extended discussion with Katz—who also briefly addressed questions about Nixon’s immediate and long-term political future—here:

That clip above is an extended cut of the conversation heard on this week’s episode of Max & Murphy, which you can hear here:

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