NEW YORK: Former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon has teamed up with Hilltop Public Solutions in her bid for governor.
Hilltop is handling communications and general campaign strategy for Nixon’s campaign, said Rebecca Katz, a partner at Hilltop. The firm previously worked on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2013 campaign.
One benefit of being Nixon’s agency partner is her already-established access and broad appeal across different audiences, Katz said.
"We have a little more reach [than the typical campaign]," she explained. "There’s a lot of interest from entertainment press to women's outlets to LGBTQ groups, so we’re talking to everybody."
One issue Nixon is already focusing on is New York’s subway system. The day after Nixon announced her candidacy, Katz posted a few photos of Nixon on her way to an event when the train unexpectedly went out of the service.
Nixon is positioning herself as someone who can actually get something done for the subway that serves more than 5.6 million riders every day. She is trying to contrast the back and forth between de Blasio and current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who often pass the buck to one another on subway issues.
"They remember we started our campaign on the subways," Katz said. "When it got delayed and we got thrown off it, we had all these people come up to us to say, ‘We are a single issue voter on the subways.’ There is a lots of bickering among male politicians, but people see Cynthia Nixon as someone who is above it all."
But Nixon can’t only focus on New York City, where she is from. Katz said Nixon will be appearing all over the state in the next six months leading up to the election.
The transition from actress to political candidate is not as tricky as one would think. Nixon has been involved in New York politics for some time. She endorsed de Blasio when he ran for mayor and attended his inauguration in 2014. She is also an advocate for education, same sex marriage, and Planned Parenthood in the state, Katz said.
"I called a few Albany reporters to introduce myself and they said we’ve known [Nixon] for decades," Katz said. "There is the celebrity coverage, but for the political reporters that have been in the weeds, they know her."
The team has already turned a potentially damaging news story into a positive campaign boost. When Cuomo advocate and City Council speaker Christine Quinn called Nixon an "unqualified lesbian," Nixon’s team made light of the quip with a clever tweet and campaign merchandise.
"We’re going to be reaching out to all kinds of New Yorkers on every platform and trying to help educate them and get them to engage with the campaign," Katz said. "In the first 24 hours of our campaign, we had more small dollar contributions than Governor Cuomo has had in seven years. This is a people-powered campaign."