Nixon may aid NY Senate GOP if backed by Working Families Party

ALBANY — A top Long Island Democratic leader fears actress Cynthia Nixon could hurt the party’s chances of capturing the state Senate if she gets the progressive Working Families Party line for governor.

Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs said he’s heard from multiple state Senate candidates who say they will consider forgoing the WFP line if Nixon is the gubernatorial candidate.

Republicans, Jacobs said, already try to tie suburban candidates to Mayor de Blasio and a liberal New York City agenda.

Nixon, who is close to the mayor, would be painted by the GOP on Long Island as a de Blasio clone and part of the Hollywood elite, Jacobs said.

Photos of Nixon through the years: 

21 PHOTOS
Cynthia Nixon out and about
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Cynthia Nixon out and about
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 29: Cynthia Nixon attends the portrait unveilings of Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon starring on Broadway in the Manhattan Theatre Club's THE LITTLE FOXES, at Sardi's on June 29, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Actress Cynthia Nixon attends the 71st Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Cynthia Nixon (L) attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 4: Cynthia Nixon attends 2017 Drama Desk Awards - Arrivals at Anita's Way on June 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22: Cynthia Nixon on stage at the 2017 The Lilly Awards at Playwrights Horizons on May 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Cynthia Nixon attends the Outer Critics Circle 2016-2017 Awards at Sardi's on May 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Best Actress in a Play Winner for 'The Little Foxes' Laura Linney and Best Featured Actress in a Play Winner for 'The Little Foxes' Cynthia Nixon pose at the 2017 Outer Critics Circle Awards Presentation at Sardi's on May 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22: Cynthia Nixon attends the 2017 Lilly Awards at Playwrights Horizons on May 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 19: Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon attend the 83rd Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony at Marriott Marquis Times Square on May 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Pictured: Cynthia Nixon -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03: Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney attend the 2017 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket at the Sofitel Hotel on May 3, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 10: Actor Cynthia Nixon attends 2017 Drama Desk Nominees reception at Marriott Marquis Times Square on May 10, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Actress Cynthia Nixon visits the SiriusXM Studios on April 21, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Christine Marinoni and wife Cynthia Nixon pose at the opening night after party for Manhattan Theatre Clubs production of 'The Little Foxes' on Broadway at The Copacabana on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney during the Broadway Opening Night Curtain Call bows for 'The Little Foxes' at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Cynthia Nixon attends the 2017 Afghan Hands fundraiser at Gabriel & Co Showroom on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 28: Cynthia Nixon attends the cast photo call for the Manhattan Theatre Club's New Broadway Production of 'The Little Foxes' at the MTC Rehearsal studios on February 27, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 17: (L-R) Cynthia Nixon, Mario Cantone and Claudia Shear pose at the Opening Night Party for The New Group production of 'Evening at The Talk House' at Green Fig Urban Eatery at Yotel on February 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - JANUARY19: American actress Cynthia Nixon gives a speech as people gather in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, USA on January 19, 2017 during a demonstration to protest US President-elect, Republican, Donald Trump ahead of his inauguration which will be held in Washington. Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio,Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges participate the protest as well as celebrities including Robert De Niro, Marisa Tomei, Sally Field, Alec Baldwin, Mark Ruffalo, Cynthia Nixon, Michael Moore, Cher, Natalie Merchant . (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - DECEMBER 11: Cynthia Nixon arrives at the The 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on December 11, 2016 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 20: Actress Cynthia Nixon attends the 'Sweet Charity' Opening Night Afterparty at The Lindeman on November 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)
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“Cynthia Nixon and a far-left agenda in Nassau County does not win, and it’s a big loser in Suffolk,” Jacobs, an ally of Gov. Cuomo, said. “Taking the Working Families Party line is one thing, but who the standard-bearer is defines the message for voters.”

Nixon is challenging Cuomo in the Democratic primary and is being considered for the WFP nomination.

Jacobs said he has expressed his concerns to WFP state Director Bill Lipton.

A second Long Island Democratic leader echoed Jacobs’ sentiment and said he, too, has spoken with Lipton about his concerns.

The WFP has been wrestling with whether to support Cuomo, who many within the party feel is not progressive enough, or a different candidate. The unions that help fund the minor party are with Cuomo, while the activist base wants someone else.

The party’s nominating convention is in May.

“The 232 grass-roots activists on the state committee have a very important decision to make; stay tuned,” Lipton said.

A source close to the party said using Jacobs’ logic, Cuomo should give up his Independence Party line since that party has already endorsed Republican congressional candidates the governor has targeted, like Rep. Tom Reed of upstate Steuben County.

A Democrat involved in Long Island races said that party candidates “have always run with the Working Families Party line. It’s always been an asset, and I’m sure it will be again.”

Democratic insiders say Nixon heading the WFP line, which has backed Cuomo the past two campaigns, could be the “disaster scenario” for the governor. Nixon, along with a separate liberal Green Party candidate, could draw enough votes away from Cuomo that the Republican candidate would not need to reach 50% to beat him. Also, there is the question of whether de Blasio, who is at war with Cuomo, would help Nixon. Four years ago, the mayor traveled to Albany to work on behalf of the governor when it appeared he was about to lose the WFP line to little-known Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout. No one expects de Blasio would offer such help again, insiders say.

“This time de Blasio is going to go and say, ‘Don’t believe him. He’s a liar. He lied to you. He lied to me.’ That’s what’s scary about it if you’re the governor,” said one Democratic political insider.

“The Democratic primary is irrelevant,” the source said. “He’s going to win. Who cares? (But) if she’s on the WFP line and gets some traction and (the Republican candidate) plays it smart, it’s a real problem for him.”

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