Other candidates around the country have cited Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s win as a blueprint for their own campaigns, but few have matched her success, despite also promising to engage new voters.
And the progressive blocs that Ms. Nixon’s campaign has declared will drive her to victory are not united in their support. After the national progressive group Indivisible endorsed Ms. Nixon, several local branches issued an open letter of dissent: In their Facebook groups, members worried about Ms. Nixon’s lack of governing experience. Prominent women’s and gay rights groups have backed Mr. Cuomo.
The New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America endorsed Ms. Nixon, but not before dozens of members signed onto a blog post urging against the decision, raising concerns about her socialist bona fides. The group’s Albany chapter chose not to issue an endorsement, in part because members thought Ms. Nixon had not spoken enough about upstate.
“You’ve got to fish where the fish are,” said Peter Warren, acting chairman of the Albany chapter, of Ms. Nixon’s perceived focus on voter-dense New York City. But as a result, he said, “the interest was not red-hot” in issuing an endorsement.
The criticism that Ms. Nixon has focused too much on city dwellers is a common one, albeit one her team dismissed, citing visits to Syracuse to discuss immigration policy and to Hoosick Falls on environmental issues.
Ms. Nixon may actually find an unexpectedly warm reception upstate. In the 2014 Democratic primary for governor, Zephyr Teachout, who also ran to the left of Mr. Cuomo, won many upstate counties; in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in almost every county outside of New York City.
Ms. Nixon may also benefit from voters who are not so much pro-Nixon as anti-Cuomo, as the governor’s gun control policies have made him deeply unpopular in rural areas, including among Democrats. Although Ms. Nixon largely shares Mr. Cuomo’s views on gun control and has called for further restrictions, the Siena polls have consistently shown her with more support upstate than downstate.