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N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo defeats primary challenger Cynthia Nixon

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shakes hands with people when he arrives to a protest with students from Leadership and Public Service High School on March 14 in New York City. On Thursday, Cuomo defeated primary challenger Cynthia Nixon to secure his bid for a third term. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

By Ray Downs, UPI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., defeated primary challenger Cynthia Nixon, a former actress who jumped into the gubernatorial fray this year and quickly gathered strong support from progressives.

Cuomo, who will be running for his third term, won 66 percent of the vote as of 10 p.m. 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 while getting a great deal of media attention and endorsements from a handful of celebrities.

She also heavily criticized Cuomo for being corrupt after his close aide was found guilty of accepting bribes in March. 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 much more money than Nixon.

And Cuomo's record, which has included variations of the reforms progressives seek most, such as 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.

Cuomo will now face Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, the Executive of Duchess County, N.Y. and former State Assembly member.

Molinari ran uncontested in the Republican primary.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo defeats primary challenger Cynthia Nixon
N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo defeats primary challenger Cynthia Nixon
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