From the Morning Memo:

To say New York Republicans are happy about education activist and actress Cynthia Nixon’s decision to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic primary is something of an understatement.

Out-gunned when it comes to fundraising and out-numbered in enrollment by about five to three across the state, Republicans know they face an uphill battle in their quest to oust Cuomo in November, and they’re more than willing to accept any and all assistance in softening up their target ahead of the general election.

Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFranciso, so far the only formally announced candidate seeking the GOP nod against Cuomo, deemed Nixon’s run “great,” adding:

“(I)t shows what I have been saying all along, that whether you are from the left or the right or the middle, people are tired of Governor Cuomo. It’s not just all sides of the political spectrum, but the manner of doing business that he has.”

And state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, who has endured quite a bit of verbal sniping over the years from Cuomo and his fellow Democrats over the fact that he is the son-in-law of the late former President Richard Nixon, turned the tables and had a little fun welcoming Cynthia Nixon to the fray.

Duchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who initially said back in January that he would not run statewide this year, but has since been drafted into the race by GOP leaders and is expected to announce his campaign in early April, took things a step further a sought to turn Nixon’s candidacy to his advantage.

In a fundraising email with the subject line “New York is Going Hollywood!”, Molinaro said Nixon’s entry into the race for governor is “great news for our campaign,” because Cuomo “will be forced to take on a high profile challenge from a celebrity-activist who is guaranteed the spotlight from the state and national media.”

“Nixon’s challenge will finally force the national media to report on the culture of corruption and sheer incompetence which pervades the Cuomo administration,” Molinaro continued.

“Whether it is Cuomo pay to play, bribery, billion dollar upstate boondoggles or the failure to run the trains on time – the jig is up for the Governor. A race that we knew would be competitive, is now a race that we can and will win.”

Molinaro concluded his appeal with a final “P.S.,” which read:

“The winner of the Cuomo-Nixon race is going to have to survive a bruising primary and that’s good news. The bad news for New Yorkers is that Andrew Cuomo, who was already running to the left to position himself for a 2020 run for President, will undoubtedly now break into a sprint. We can’t allow the battle for the soul of New York’s elite, leave the rest of us in the middle even further behind. Please donate today!”

As of the last campaign financial filing with the state Board of Elections in January, Cuomo was sitting on just over $30 million worth of political cash.