New Jersey’s Democratic governor will not weigh in on New York’s gubernatorial race, shutting down the possibility of endorsing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reelection bid.
“We’re not getting involved in that,” Gov. Phil Murphy told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday when asked whether he backed Cuomo or progressive challenger actress Cynthia Nixon in the New York governor’s race.
“I’ve never met Ms. Nixon, but I’ve watched her on television as a performer. I have a fair amount of interaction, as you can imagine, with Gov. Cuomo, and our teams have a fair amount of interaction together,” he added, according to the New Jersey Globe. “That’s one we’re going to observe and stay out of.”
Murphy’s refusal to endorse either candidate could be a move to avoid any possible political tensions down the line.
If he backs Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, Murphy runs the risk of isolating the progressive voters that have emerged as a key part of his coalition. Endorsing Nixon could exacerbate tensions with Cuomo.
Murphy has found himself at odds with Cuomo over a push to fill the deputy executive director position at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
That position was eliminated in 2015 following a scandal in which access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were closed in an effort to retaliate against a New Jersey mayor who did not endorse the reelection bid of the state’s then-Gov. Chris Christie (R).
Murphy previously said he planned to reinstate the position. But Cuomo has pushed back on that plan, arguing that eliminating the post was necessary to reform the embattled Port Authority after the so-called Bridgegate scandal.
Polls suggest that Cuomo is likely to defeat Nixon in New York’s state Democratic primary in September.
But the former “Sex and the City” actress has sought to rally support among progressives, who received a boost last month when Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), the No. 4 House Democrat, was shockingly defeated in a primary race against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive first-time candidate.
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