Washington (CNN)New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon in a speech on Friday energized a room full of progressive candidates running for office, calling on them to "take our government back" from Republicans and "corporate Democrats."
Cynthia Nixon to progressive candidates: 'Time is up for corporate Democrats'
"This year, thousands of us progressives all over America are running for office for the first time because we're realizing that if we want things to change we'll need to step up and do it ourselves," the "Sex and the City" star told a room full of hundreds of progressive candidates at a training event in Washington DC on Friday.
"This year, each of us has to do whatever we can to take our government back. If we want change we have to do what we have always done we have to go out ourselves and we have to seize it."
Nixon and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison were keynote speakers at the event, hosted by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Our Revolution.
The room gave Nixon a standing ovation when she took the stage. Though her attendance at the event was informally announced on Twitter, she was not on the printed schedule, so some in the room were surprised by her arrival.
"The time is up for corporate Democrats, for politicians who campaign as Democrats but govern as republicans," she said. "It can't just be business as usual anymore. I know that our country can do better. We have to turn the system upside down."
Nixon -- a Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winner -- formally announced last month that she will challenge Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the state's September primary.
A new NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll released Thursday found that if the New York State Democratic primary were held today, Cuomo would lead Nixon by more than 3 to 1 among registered Democrats in New York State.
However, Cuomo's lead narrows when looking at Democrats who say they are very enthusiastic to vote in the primary.
"Despite Cuomo's wide, early lead over Nixon, among Democrats most enthusiastic about voting, she already attracts the support of close to what Zephyr Teachout got," Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said in a statement. In 2014 Cuomo received 62% of the vote in the primary to 34% for Teachout.
Both Nixon and Cuomo, an incumbent seeking his third term, are vying for the endorsement of the small but influential Working Families Party, a progressive organization that backed Cuomo in 2010 and again, with an unlikely hand from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, four years later.
Nixon has gotten endorsements from a handful of celebrities, including some of her former "Sex and the City" co-stars.
During her speech to candidates, Nixon bashed Cuomo for taking donations from corporations.
"We have too many corporate Democrats like Andrew Cuomo," she said. "It's hard for some Democrats to do right when they are getting millions and millions of dollars to do wrong. The election of Donald Trump was a wake-up for progressives all across this country. But even before Trump, the establishment was rigging our economy and our government to benefit those on top."
She also emphasized her platform's priorities, including: marijuana legalization, education reform and universal healthcare.
"If 2016 taught us anything, it's that Democrats can't give voters something to vote against," she said. "We have to give them something to vote for."