Zephyr Teachout In The U.S. House Of Representatives?
You probably remember Zephyr Teachout's spectacular run against Andrew Cuomo in 2014. He beat her in the big city machine counties but she won Albany, where they know him best and she won up and down the Hudson Valley as well. In fact, of the 11 counties that make up NY-19, the seat Chris Gibson is giving up at the end of the year, Zephyr won 10. The biggest county in the district is Ulster, where she beat Cuomo 69.95% to 27.41%. Dutchess is the second biggest county and she beat him there 57.51%- 40.36%. The comes Rensselaer where it was Zephyr 63.42%, Cuomo 33.02%. In Columbia County it was Zephyr 77.91% to 20.43 for Cuomo. And so it went. Only a tiny sliver of Broome County is in the district, the one place show lost, and only 3,449 people voted, of which Cuomo took 49.46% and Zephyr took 44.77%. She won 71.06% in Schoharie County and 72.75% in Otsego County. On average she took 62% of the votes district-wide. Point being... shamed an impression on the folks in NY-19.
It's a blue district with a retiring Republican. The DCCC hasn't been able to find a candidate, although there are five Republicans already running and a couple of Democrats sniffing around. Obama won the district against McCain 53-45% and beat Romney 4 years later 52-46%. NY-19 is not a Trumpf or Cruz kind of district and if either of them is the nominee, it's safe to predict a Democratic tsunami up and down the ticket. She works at Fordham University and has aan partment in Brooklyn and a home in Dover Plains, a hamlet in Dutchess County. Right now she's consulting with Democratic leaders in the district and hopes to make an announcement, one way or the other, in about a week.
The Oneonta Daily Star suggests that both Republican and Democratic Party county leaders are anxious to avoid a costly, divisive primary. That's generally an anti-democratic notion and the Democratic county leaders need to rethink that.
In Cooperstown, Otsego County Democratic Chairman Richard Abbate said he is convinced Democrats have a strong shot at capturing the House seat this year, particularly if Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor who challenged incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, is selected as his party's nominee.Last week the Kingston Times reported that a local social media movement has sprung up to draft a high-profile progressive into the mix. On Facebook, the page 'Run Zephyr Run-- Drafting Zephyr Teachout to Run for Congress in NY-19' urges the academic and former gubernatorial candidate to jump into the race for the Democratic nomination.
He said Teachout is set to be interviewed by county Democratic committee members Wednesday. Other possible candidates will also be interviewed. The Daily Star quoted Democratic insiders earlier this week saying Julian Schreibman, who unsuccessfully challenged Gibson in 2012, is interested in making another attempt for the seat this year.
Abbate also said another Democrat, Columbia County farmer Will Yandic, is also interested in running. Yandic received 476 votes last November in getting re-elected to the Livingston Town Board.
"My hope is that the candidates will respect the decision of the party chairmen if we are united" behind one candidate, Abbate said. But if there is division among the chairpersons, he added, "I think it is inevitable that we will have a primary."
Abbate said he is very impressed with Teachout based on her ability to rally the enthusiastic supporters she gained in the 2014 gubernatorial primary against Cuomo.
"Zephyr is someone who has proven she has the ability to get the base motivated," Abbate said. He noted he is hoping the county Democratic leaders throughout the 19th District can unite behind done of the candidates in February.
Congressional primaries in New York will be held June 28, giving voters time to focus on them following the state's April 19 presidential primary elections. As a closed primary state, voters can only vote in the primary for the party in which they are enrolled.
There's no doubt Zephyr would not be just another run-of-the-mill careerist congressmember. She's exactly the kind of unbossed, unbought independent thinker Congress needs more of, regardless of party. When Blue America endorsed her for governor in 2014 she wrote a guest post. Much of it was specific to her contest with Cuomo but there was a broader and more universal theme as well:
Today, Democratic leaders, even some of the good ones, believe that Wall Street creates wealth, and that the role of the government is to protect those monopolies and then kick some of the resulting wealth to the middle class or poor. Their debate is whether to kick back a little, or a little more. Ultimately they think the role of government is to serve charity, not justice.
I believe the basis of wealth creation comes from ordinary citizens who have access to opportunity, and infrastructure. It's the immigrant restaurant, the neighborhood lawyer or baker or farmer, these are the people that build the society we love. Democrats need to represent them, Democrats should make sure that they have power, and that justice doesn't mean charity. It means balanced markets, competition, and flourishing small businesses.
...It's time for a new generation of Democrats, not in age but in spirit, to repudiate the corporate financiers. Liberty is our right as Americans, both negative liberty in that government should not punish the innocent, but also positive liberty in our right to have housing, medicine, education, and economic opportunity. That's why I'm running. That's what the Democratic Party used to stand for, and that's what we're going to make it stand for again.