New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) wants a third term, but actress and activist Cynthia Nixon is hoping that her calls for abolishing ICE and legalizing recreational marijuana will strike a chord with Democratic voters, and she'll win the state's gubernatorial primary on Sept. 13.
On Wednesday night, the pair met for a debate, where they covered everything from the New York City subway system to ethics probes. Nixon has argued that Cuomo is not progressive enough, and said if elected, she will not accept a salary. She also said Cuomo only agreed to support a $15 minimum wage because he was pressured by labor unions, which he denied. Cuomo has received endorsements from the state's major labor unions, and said he was "never at war" with them, receiving cheers from the crowd.
Nixon has been vocal about the need to fix the subway system, and said she would be fine with transit workers striking: "I think that labor unions need to have more independence." Cuomo called on New York City to split the cost of improvements with the state. "I want to fund a $33 billion plan," he said. "That's what we need to fix the subway. I don't want to do it just one step at a time." Nixon criticized Cuomo's response to the subway's slow decay, and said he had "seven and a half years to avoid this very avoidable problem."
The debate got heated at times; at one point, Cuomo said Nixon "lives in the world of fiction" and demanded she stop interrupting him; Nixon shot back, "Can you stop lying?" They went back and forth throughout the night, with Nixon denouncing Cuomo for shutting down in 2014 an ethics panel he created, and Cuomo then accusing Nixon of wielding her influence to get New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop helicopters from flying over Shakespeare in the Park performances. Watch part of the debate below. Catherine Garcia