Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

Facing Grassroots Primary Challenge From Nixon, Cuomo Seeks Donations Big And Small

July 18, 2018 - 10:08 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo tries to shift his focus away from deep-pocketed donors by accepting small campaign contributions from friends and staff.

Campaign finance records show Cuomo has built a massive campaign war chest with donations large and small in response to actress and activist Cynthia Nixon's grassroots primary challenge.

“We rolled out a new low dollar campaign to reach a wide variety of supporters and as part of that effort reached out to our network, just as Ms. Nixon's campaign has dozens of contributions from her staff and their family members," a Cuomo spokeswoman said. "As the latest filing and poll numbers show, Cynthia’s campaign is on life support, which is why her lines are getting increasingly more combative and desperate.”

Many of Cuomo's $1 to $5 donations have come from aides, relatives, appointees and lobbyists. One man, who shares an address with a Cuomo aide, made 67 $1 contributions.

The governor has even offered a chance to win Billy Joel tickets in exchange for small donations, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported.

But the filing shows much of the contributions have come from large contributors including $65,000 from a fund that invests in marijuana businesses. 

Nearly $500,000 has come from donors tied to recent corruption trials. A Cuomo spokeswoman says the campaign will donate those funds to causes important to the governor including immigrant legal defense and women's reproductive rights.

Nixon has so far raised about $660,000 to Cuomo's $31 million.