ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In New York state political news, candidates are making their final push before Thursday's primary, set to decide several contentious matchups including the Democratic primary races for governor and attorney general.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is spending big in his battle with activist and former "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon, who is counting on a surge of grassroots support.

Meanwhile, candidates are reminding voters that this year's primary will be held on a Thursday.

Here's a look at stories making news.

GRASSROOTS AND GREENBACKS: A sure sign that Cuomo is taking Nixon seriously? His campaign spent more than $8 million in the final three weeks before the primary.

Most of the money went to television ads, including some targeting Cuomo's potential general election opponent, Republican Marc Molinaro. Another big chunk of the money went to the state party for coordinated Democratic campaigns.

Nixon has far fewer financial resources for the final leg of the campaign and spent some $450,000 in the lead up to election day, according to campaign filings.

Instead of fighting Cuomo on the airwaves Nixon is finding other ways to communicate with voters. She traveled upstate last weekend, making campaign stops in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca. She kept busy in the last full week before the election with events downstate and numerous interviews. On Wednesday she was a guest on NBC's "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

Cuomo is also staying busy before the primary with events designed to highlight his accomplishments as governor. On Friday he joined Hillary Clinton at the grand opening of the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. The span, which replaces the old Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson, is one of the governor's proudest achievements and bears the name of his late father. Earlier in the week he christened a new state park in Brooklyn and announced progress on efforts to overhaul Penn Station.

Polls suggest Cuomo has a commanding lead over Nixon, but several recent upset victories by progressive challengers have put incumbents on edge around the country.

Four years ago, when Cuomo faced a challenge from Fordham University law professor Zephyr Teachout , now a candidate for attorney general, his campaign spent some $2.5 million in the final weeks of the campaign. Teachout ended up winning a third of the vote.

BALLOT IN BRIEF: Aside from the Democratic primary for governor, voters will also decide the four-way primary battle for attorney general.

Aside from the Teachout, the candidates are New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, former Cuomo and Clinton aide Leecia Eve and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. The most recent polls indicated James was the front runner, but that was before Teachout picked up big endorsements in The New York Times and Buffalo News.

Democrats will also pick a candidate for lieutenant governor. Incumbent Kathy Hochul faces New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who picked up The Times endorsement last week.

THURSDAY'S THE DAY: Lawmakers voted earlier this year to shift the primary election day to Sept. 13 so as not to interfere with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks or the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

While the goal may have been voter convenience, candidates say they now have to remind voters about the change.

"I need you guys sept. 13!" Sen. Martin Dilan, D-Brooklyn, told voters while handling out campaign flyers during a recent campaign stop at a housing development in Williamsburg. "This year it's a Thursday because of 9-11. So are you going to support me?"

Alessandra Biaggi, challenging Sen. Jeff Klein in the Democratic primary in the Bronx, said the odd date just shows why the state must reform its antiquated election laws by allowing voters to cast their ballots early. New York is one of 13 states that doesn't allow advance voting.

"That's crazy, obviously," she said of the election falling on a Thursday. "People vote on Tuesdays."