We caught up with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout as she visited Ghent Thursday evening, mid-way through her three day bus tour across the state. Teachout was enthusiastically received at a meeting hosted by the Columbia County Democratic Committee, speaking to approximately 100 attendees.
Update – Appearance Highlights:
Teachout faces seemingly overwhelming obstacles in her campaign; little time, a 100-1 money disadvantage, no prior campaign experience and a widely-known opponent who controls both state government and the state Democratic Party, to name a few. She does have a clear positive, however. Teachout is a solid retail campaigner; smart, a good speaker, knowledgable on at least some major issues, she warms to an audience and cameras. Smiling and friendly, she addressed the questions asked in Ghent while effectively pivoting to her broader campaign themes. She also appeared to genuinely enjoy being there.
For all of his political mastery and electoral successes, Andrew Cuomo doesn’t appear to enjoy campaigning, and certainly not to the degree that Teachout does. It may in part be due to novelty for Teachout, new to the campaign trail, while Cuomo has been in politics his entire life. What’s new and fun the first 10,000 times may lose some of it’s excitement after 30 or 40 years. For Cuomo though, it’s also part personality. He’s a master of the inside game, unrivaled in New York in the ability to work the levers of state government. He barely campaigns, however, employing a “2nd floor strategy” as he relishes legislative maneuvering and deal-making while pretending to be uninterested in electoral politics.
Despite an impressive string of endorsements and the notable draw on the NY Times endorsement, it’s difficult to construct a scenario in which Teachoout wins this primary. It’s easy to see her as a continuing political presence, however. Representing the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party”, having solid campaign skills and, in contrast to Eric Schneiderman, Tom DiNapoli and Bill de Blasio, a willingness to run straight at Andrew Cuomo, she may find solid post-primary political footing.
Here’s a look at her appearance in Ghent:
Afterwards I asked Teachout about the endorsements that have recently gone to Tim Wu, her designated Lieutenant Governor candidate, but not to her. Most notable among these is the New York Times, which was somewhat complimentary of Teachout but dismissive of her ability to actually govern New York.