The campaign season is heating up this week, as both Democrats and Republicans will hold their state nominating conventions in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to win the backing of the Democratic Party, but his primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, is going to the party's convention in an attempt to win enough votes to also get onto the ballot.
That's just one of the storylines to look out for during the state conventions.
NIXON'S ATTEMPT TO GET ON THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BALLOT
Adding some drama to a scripted event, Democratic challenger for governor Cynthia Nixon is going to the party's New York state convention. While the majority of the delegates' votes are expected to go to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Nixon is hoping her populist message can get her over the 25 percent threshold also needed to win a spot on the ballot.
Some insiders have complained of heavy-handed tactics to keep challengers out, including an email to candidates from the Cuomo-controlled Democratic Party, warning that even candidate signs will be closely controlled:
Over the weekend, Nixon scored a political victory when she accepted the nomination of the Working Families Party, securing her spot on the ballot in November.
"Andrew Cuomo has made his choice," Nixon said as she accepted the nomination. "He has surrounded himself with wealthy donors, powerful corporate real estate tycoons, and Wall Street hedge fund moguls."
LETITIA JAMES AND THE RACE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL
Also closely watched will be on the race for state attorney general, following Eric Schneiderman's resignation two weeks ago, after multiple women accused him of abuse.
Public Advocate Letitia James has emerged as the frontrunner to get the Democratic nomination, but she surprised voters when she refused to take the Working Families Party (WFP) line. James was one of party's first major success stories when she won a city council race.
But after backlash from her decision last week, James seemed to backpedal a little at a meeting of the New York Progressive Action Network on Sunday.
"When I first ran for city council, I ran on the Working Families Party line and was proud to be associated with that party," James said to the crowd gathered. "I continue to be associated with that party."
James received the endorsement of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Monday, and the endorsement of Cuomo on Tuesday. NY1 asked if her position had changed with respect to the Working Families Party:
"It hasn't evolved; it's been consistent," she said.
James then admitted that a schism between top Democrats and the WFP led to her initial decision. Sources say Cuomo leaned on James to reject the WFP because it endorsed Nixon.
"The bottom line is I have been focused on securing the Democratic nomination. And as you know, as I stated yesterday, because of the calendar and because of time, there were some issues with a number of party leaders who had philosophical and political differences with the Working Families Party line," James said Monday.
HILLARY CLINTON TO SPEAK AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton will deliver the keynote address Wednesday to state Democrats at their convention on Long Island, and she will endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In contrast, President Trump will also be in the city Wednesday but has no plans to swing by the Republican convention in Midtown.
THE REPUBLICAN RACE FOR GOVERNOR
The state Republican Party is expected to nominate Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro for governor.
No Republican has won a statewide race in New York since 2002, and a recent Quinnipiac University poll gave Cuomo a comfortable lead in a head-to-head matchup.
Molinaro has argued that Cuomo is devoted to his own self-preservation and presidential ambitions at the expense of the state. Molinaro also said that all New Yorkers are paying a price for the state's corrupt government.
Molinaro had previously said he would not run for governor, but he suggested he changed his mind when New Yorkers urged him to get into the race.
"I came to the conclusion that our state is at a dangerous crossroad. We see the needs of everyday New Yorkers being neglected, and so many without hope," the Republican said at the press conference kicking off his campaign.
Cuomo responded by calling Molinaro a "Trump mini-me" and said that no one is going to vote for a Trump clone in New York.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE STATE CONVENTIONS?
The parties will meet, and delegates will nominate candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and comptroller. The parties will also consider resolutions.
While the party picks are important, they will not determine who wins the primary. Voters will determine that in the state primary Sept. 13.
If a candidate is not nominated, the candidate can still petition to get on a primary ballot.
WHERE ARE THE CONVENTIONS?
DEMOCRATS: Hofstra University on Long Island
REPUBLICANS: The Ziegfeld Ballroom in Midtown
CONVENTION SCHEDULE OVERVIEW
Opening reception in the evening.
9:30 AM: Call to order, welcome, and nominations for the office of governor
1 PM: Nominations for the office of lieutenant governor
6 PM: Evening reception
8:30 AM – 9 AM: Drawing of lots for order of nominations
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM: Caucus meetings
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM: Joint meeting of the executive committee and county chairs
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM: State convention/Meeting morning session
- Nominations for statewide office and other party business
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM: Afternoon session
- Nominations and other party business (continued)
4:30 PM – 6 PM: Open time for caucus or other state committee gatherings
7 PM – 9 PM: Dinner Reception
9:30 AM: Call to order and nominations for attorney general and comptroller
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM: Open time for caucus or other state committee gatherings
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Final session