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Former Obama aide backs Cynthia Nixon over Cuomo

A former aide to President Obama is throwing her support behind actress and activist Cynthia Nixon's Democratic primary bid against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Alyssa Mastromonaco, a former deputy chief of staff for operations in Obama's White House, wrote in an op-ed published by Refinery29 on Wednesday that Nixon is the "right person for the job and is qualified to lead the state forward."

"I've seen firsthand what it takes to govern - patience, empathy, passion, grit, and an unending commitment to make the lives of those you serve better," Mastromonaco wrote.

"I believe Cynthia will wake up every day thinking about the families of New York state and putting them first."

Mastromonaco wrote in the op-ed that watching a campaign video from the former "Sex and the City" star persuaded her from her initial skepticism.

"Not only was she fluent in the needs of upstate New Yorkers, but her campaign got at the heart of real issues," Mastromonaco wrote.

The endorsement comes a day before Democratic voters in New York vote to decide whether to give Cuomo a shot at a third term in the governor's mansion. Cuomo is leading Nixon by wide margins in virtually every recent public poll and has drastically outspent his progressive challenger.

But Nixon is betting that a spate of progressive wins in recent gubernatorial and House primaries, as well as her celebrity status, can help her snag the Democratic nomination in New York.

Nixon has the support of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive political newcomer who rose to national prominence earlier this year when she beat 10-term Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a primary.

While Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has emerged as a sort of patriarch of the progressive movement, hasn't endorsed Nixon, he threw his support behind her running mate, Jumaane Williams. 

Obama himself has not endorsed either candidate in the New York Democratic gubernatorial primary. He waded back into campaign politics last month when he released a list of 81 candidates that he was endorsing. All of them, however, were in states that had already held their primaries.

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