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Cynthia Nixon brings defiant air to Democratic convention

HEMPSTEAD – Cynthia Nixon acknowledged this morning she will not receive enough support to qualify for the Democratic primary ballot today at a Democratic State Convention she said is "well-choreographed" by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

But the actress-activist challenging the governor slammed him for ignoring the party's progressive roots as she arrived in this convention town surrounded by an air of defiance.

She left a Long Island Railroad train early today to tell waiting reporters at the Hempstead Transit Center that her name will be placed in nomination despite any attempts to head her off, "because this is my party too."

"I will not be scared out of the room," she said. "I'm here to tell voters they have an alternative."

Nixon has injected an element of drama into proceedings expected to overwhelmingly nominate Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to another term. She is succeeding in waking up the party's most ardent progressive factions by claiming Cuomo has abandoned core principles.

"His progressive record is incredibly weak and that's why he's attacking," she said. "I'm not a protest candidate. I'm a viable candidate."

Nixon faces considerable obstacles. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, an icon in the state party, is slated to address the convention today and offer her strong support to Cuomo. Ditto for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Thursday.

That prompted Nixon to label the convention "choreographed" by its top leaders, and it is why she is exuding such a challenging attitude.

"There's not a lot of room for spontaneity at this event," she said.

She reiterated her familiar themes that attack the governor's handling of New York City's crumbling subway system and what she claimed was his acceptance of GOP control of the state Senate for many years. That acceptance allowed the former Independent Democratic Caucus to flourish until it dissolved earlier this year, she said.

"Since I entered the picture he walked it back," she said, "but it's too late."

Nixon seemed to make the most of her opportunity to speak with reporters, as she was not confident that she would be allowed a chance to address the convention. She launched into a criticism of various court cases stemming from Cuomo's administration.

"If you look at all the indictments and convictions coming out of his administration … he's very good at fund-raising and placating his donors, but not so good at fighting for people," she said.

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, the state Democratic chairman, didn't waste a second in underscoring Cuomo's progressive accomplishments as he opened the convention at Hofstra University. That theme is expected to permeate the session today, which will be highlighted by a competitive race to nominate a new Democratic candidate for attorney general after Eric T. Schneiderman abruptly resigned amid abuse allegations by four women.

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