Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham law professor, has decided to enter the race to represent the 19th Congressional District in Congress. She faces an already crowded field where three Republicans are in a primary battle. One other Democrat, Will Yandik of Livingston, is already raising money and building a campaign.
Teachout, who was originally from Vermont, until recently lived in Brooklyn. She now rents a house in Dover Plains according to press sources. She said she likes to drive. The 19th CD is almost the size of Massachusetts.
Teachout’s political credentials come from a feisty primary campaign she waged against Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 gubernatorial race. She beat Cuomo in 31 upstate counties by a wide margin. These counties are heavily Republican and the primary turnout was miniscule. In Schorarie County, for instance, Teachout won by a comfortable 70% but she only got 393 votes (to Cuomo’s 152) out of 4627 registered Democrats. There are 6973 registered Republicans.
Political pundits explained Teachout’s odd showing of strength on her votes being a backlash from Cuomo’s backing of a gun control law – the SAFE Act – that was widely unpopular in the 19th CD. Another theory was that Teachout’s vote was a message to Cuomo that he wasn’t progressive enough.
Democratic chairmen in the rural counties where Teachout did well are among her early backers. But in all these counties Republicans have a wide majority.
Teachout will seek support from the Working Families Party. In her gubernatorial race she was supported by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, the National Organization for Women and the Sierra Club.
A one page website is up where campaign contribution can be made. She is also on Facebook where she says: “I’m running for Congress to give people their voices back so together we can address the real concerns facing our communities.”
She was written two books – “Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United” and “Mousepads, Shoe Leather and Hope: Lessons from the Howard Dean Campaign for the Future of Internet Politics.” Teachout went to Yale as an undergraduate and Duke Law School.