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Teachout earns nod from 19th CD’s Dem county chairs


Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

ALBANY – Fordham Law educator and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout won the support of a majority of the Democratic county chairs in the 19th Congressional District on Saturday, when 10 of the 11 party leaders in the sprawling district interviewed Ms. Teachout and three other candidates.

“Yeah, that was pretty amazing,” Ms. Teachout said in an interview Monday.

She called it a “great meeting,” one in a series she’s had with the district’s Democratic leaders since Ulster County Executive Mike Hein decided against running for the seat, which will be vacated by Congressman Chris Gibson (R) at the end of the year.

She called the county leaders’ vote “a really critical piece of support.”

Ms. Teachout, who mounted a robust left-flank attack on Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014, has not yet formally announced her candidacy.

“I have committed to making commitments in the next week,” she said. ” … I have to check my checkbook — I’m not wealthy.”

The most recent Board of Elections filing for her campaign committee, Zephyr for New York, shows $54,679 on hand in July.

Ms. Teachout, author of “Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United,” said she was prepared to face the same sort of carpetbagger charges that were deployed against the 2014 Democratic candidate, Sean Eldridge — who was decidedly wealthy. She noted that she grew up in Vermont, in a region that combined intensely rural areas with the sort of small communities that make up much of the 19th Congressional District.

The other candidates who spoke to the Democratic county chairs on Saturday were lawyer Julian Shreibman, who was beaten by Gibson in 2012; Livingston Town Council Member Will Yandik; and Margot Miller, who currently lives in England.

Ms. Teachout won the majority of support, said Rensselaer County Democratic Chair Tom Wade, who declined to provide the exact tally.

Ms. Teachout, who since last spring has been living in the Dutchess County community of Dover Plain and commuting to the New York City. If she declares, Ms. Teachout would be the second failed gubernatorial candidate in the race: Republican John Faso, a former Assemblyman who lost to Eliot Spitzer in 2006, is seen by many as the frontrunner in a field that also includes businessmen Andrew Heaney and Robert Bishop.

Peter Bujanow, Chair of the Columbia County Democratic Committee, said in email that the decision to support Ms. Teachout “was largely based on her established name recognition as a credible and ‘known’ candidate, her existing networks that allow her to raise funds in a race predicted to cost $4 million, and an established ‘ground game’ that allows her to execute tactically in a race where many chairs felt we were getting a late start.”

Mr. Bujanow praised Mr. Yandik writing, “several chairs felt he was a strong candidate in future elections and that he should consider any state races that might be available to him.”

–Reporter Emilia Teasdale contributed to this story.


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