The Associated Pressed called the Democratic Party vote for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday within a half hour of polls closing, beating back Cynthia Nixon’s anti-establishment attack from the left with a message of experienced leadership.

Although Cuomo tried to position the race as a contest between himself and President Donald Trump, who is deeply unpopular in many areas of his home state, the primary election became a referendum on Cuomo’s eight years in office, his centrist style of governing and the state’s Democratic establishment.

possible 2020 presidential run, he’ll do so as the head of New York’s sizable Democratic majority in a state that fashions itself as a leader in challenging Trump’s actions to push the country to the right.

“It’s a great night for the governor, and we’re all proud of that because we believe he’s got a great record as governor,” said Bill Mulrow, a former top Cuomo aide. “He’s obviously willing to fight back against what’s going on in Washington.”

Officially, Cuomo says he’s not running, but with 88 percent of districts reporting Cuomo posted big numbers, beating Nixon roughly 65 to 35 percent, he has some momentum.George McDonald, a Cuomo ally and founder of the Doe Fund, said he was holding out hope.

“He’s by far the best candidate the Dems” could run and “I’m going to try to convince him of that, even though he said he’s going to serve four more years,” he said.

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