A dozen supporters of Cynthia Nixon’s campaign for governor filtered into Forman Park on East Genesee Street across from the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sept. 1, followed by a dozen waving signs for Rachel May, who is challenging David Valesky for state Senate in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary.
The local stop, on the road between Ithaca and an appearance at the New York State Fair, was a hoped-for beginning to answer the question of where were the upstate topics in the single debate staged by Nixon and incumbent Andrew Cuomo on Aug. 29. At the local rally, the former Sex and the City star proposed a $15-an-hour minimum wage for upstate. Nixon also noted that in the discussion of replacement for Interstate-81, “We need to be looking at the community grid.”
The low turnout at Forman Park reflected the Democratic Primary reality, in which, for example, fewer than 10 percent of the state’s 5.8 million registered Democrats voted in the 2014 gubernatorial primary (more than half from New York City).
Ken Warner, upstate region political director for the Working Families Party, who had helped organize the rally, said the numbers weren’t as important as the energy he was encountering at each stop along the way. Several attendees projected campaigns beyond the current, not so much new politics as expanded participation in the existing system.
“If you want things changed,” Nixon advised, “you have to bring about the change yourself.” Then it was time to leave the park and nosh on the traditional sausage sandwich at the fair.