Category Archives: Zephyr Teachout

Support, But No Mention



Governor Andrew Cuomo supports former opponent Zephyr Teachout in her current congressional campaign, but he couldn’t quite mention her name today.  Asked at an unrelated press conference today whether he’ll endorse Teachout and whether he “hope[s] that she wins” Cuomo replied flatly that “I will support the Democratic nominee for Congress in that District … short answer, yes.”  Teachout won the 19th Congressional District Democratic primary in June and faces 2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate John Faso in November’s general election.

Teachout, of course, was Cuomo’s 2014 Democratic primary opponent, garnering an impressive 33% of the vote with a shoestring campaign.  Cuomo did his best to ignore her candidacy, not actively campaigning until the weekend before the 2014 primary.  In a fitting dramatic twist, Cuomo then literally ignored her when she approached him at a parade as he began overtly campaigning.

Here’s Cuomo’s response today:

Teachout & Cuomo: The Prequel



Zephyr Teachout’s attempt to say hello to Andrew Cuomo at the Labor Day Parade on Saturday September 6th, drew a great deal of negative attention for Governor Cuomo.  Cuomo later denied seeing Teachout or deliberately ignoring her, but in this newly published video Cuomo appears to notice Teachout and advise his chief aide of Teachout’s presence. Continue reading

Teachout Looks Ahead (Updated)



Defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout discussed the November elections, Governor Cuomo and the New York State Senate this afternoon, charging ahead in electoral politics despite the end of her own candidacy.  She spoke just before appearing at a rally near City Hall calling for continued net neutrality opposing the proposed merger of cable giants Comcast and Time Warner.

Update – Book Discussion:

Teachout also discussed her forthcoming book, Corruption In America:

Teachout & Wu Conclude (Updated x 3)



Tuesday brought the Democratic primaries for governor and lieutenant governor to a close.  Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, defeated by Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul, hosted their supporters at an election night party in Hell’s Kitchen.

We spoke with each them after their speeches.

Teachout:

I began by asking Teachout whether she had spoken with Andrew Cuomo and whether she plans to endorse or support him in the general election.

Wu:

I began by asking Wu for any overriding or impression from the campaign, as well as any disappointments.  I also asked whether he had called Kathy Hochul to concede.

(Continue reading for full speeches by Zephyr Teachout, Tim Wu and Bertha Lewis.) Continue reading

Labor Day Parade, 2014 (Updated x 4)



Today’s Labor Day Parade featured many elected officials and candidates.

Teachout & Cuomo:

Among those attending, gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout.  She tried to say hello to her opponent, Governor Andrew Cuomo, as the parade was about to begin.  Here’s what happened:

Update – Cuomo Description:

Governor Cuomo was asked (by Newsday’s Matthew Chayes) about his parade “run in … with Teachout” at an afternoon press conference.  Here’s how he described their encounter:

Watch his full press conference here.

Update #2 – Wu & Cuomo:

Lieutenant governor candidate Tim Wu, allied with Zephyr Teachout, also went over to Governor Cuomo at the start of the parade.  Here’s what happened, along with Wu’s post-encounter recap:

Wu appeared at a Hochul campaign stop on Friday evening to say hello to his opponent. Watch.

Update #3 – Cuomo Responses:

Governor Cuomo has held three press conferences since leaving the parade on Saturday morning, and he’s been asked about his Teachout encounter each time.  We’ve included each of his responses in this updated edition of the parade video.

Update #4 – Did Cuomo See Teachout?:

An extended clip, showing Cuomo appearing to notice Teachout before she approached him and advising his campaign manager, is here.

Ruffalo, Teachout & Wu



On Wednesday Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout and lieutenant governor candidate Tim Wu held a press conference featuring actor Mark Ruffalo.  Standing on the steps of Manhattan’s Tweed Courthouse Ruffalo endorsed both candidates, emphasizing their opposition to fracking.  Their press conference preceded by one hour a Bill de Blasio press conference just around the corner, on the steps of City Hall, endorsing Wu’s primary opponent Kathy Hochul.

Here is their Q&A, which includes both press questions and some questions from supporters.

Teachout Tour (Updated)



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 Teachout 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:


Wu Endorsements:

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.

Eric Garner March (Updated)



Several thousand people marched from the site of Eric Garner’s death past the Richmond County District Attorney’s office, ending at a rally overlooking New York Harbor.  Organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the march and rally was about the Garner case and demands for criminal prosecution of the police officers involved, but also about broader complaints and concerns around policing and racial discrimination in New York and throughout the country.

Among the elected officials I spotted: Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Helen Rosenthal, Jumaane Williams, Carlos Menchaca, Daneek Miller, Ydanis Rodriguez, Vanessa Gibson, State Senators Adriano Espaillat and Gustavo Rivera and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.  Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James were not there.  Former Governor David Paterson joined, marching with Rev. Sharpton.  Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout was also there.

Update – Teachout:

We asked Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout why she was attending the march and her answer touched on stop & frisk, broken windows policing and Andrew Cuomo’s decision to go fishing.  We spoke with Teachout in the Staten Island ferry terminal as she headed to the march.

(Flashing neon signs produced ever-changing colors and brightness on Teachout as we spoke.)

Melissa Mark-Viverito:

We spoke with Speaker Mark-Viverito on the ferry ride to the march.  I asked her why she was going and what she hoped the march would accomplish:

Bertha Lewis Endorses Teachout & Wu (Updated x 2)



Activist and de Blasio ally Bertha Lewis today endorsed Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu for governor and lieutenant governor.  Lewis joined Teachout and Wu at a press conference outside the Brooklyn courthouse where arguments were heard today in Cuomo’s appeal of a state supreme court ruling that Teachout meets the residency requirements for governor set forth in the state constitution.

Lewis, a long time activist who headed ACORN until it’s dissolution, was highly critical of Governor Cuomo.  She was also critical, albeit while emphasizing their continuing close relationship, of Mayor de Blasio’s efforts at helping Cuomo win the Working Families Party nomination.

Here are excerpts from Lewis’s opening statement and the Q&A:

Update – Israel:

Teachout was twice asked about Israel; once about Governor Cuomo’s recent visit and once about Israel’s broad challenges.  She avoided answering both times, immediately pivoting to discussions of the election, Governor Cuomo and debates.

Update – Full Q&A:

Here is the full Q&A:

The Nemesis of My Nemesis …



In an unusual joint news conference today, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout denounced Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “corruption”.  Emphasizing their many political and policy differences, the two aspiring political opponents of Governor Cuomo attacked a variety of Cuomo’s actions and his opaque political methods.

The news conference also featured a group, presumably pro-Cuomo, holding signs and heckling both candidates.  As you’ll see, during the Q&A the group moved from behind the press, and facing the candidates, to just off to the side of the candidates.  They refused to answer when asked who they were and where they’re from.

Press Q&A:

Among the question topics were what more Governor Cuomo should have done before disbanding the Moreland Commission on public corruption, how Astorino feels about NJ Governor, and chair of the Republican Governors Association, Chris Christie “writing you off”, whether they believe Christie and Cuomo have an “arrangement” concerning Christie’s lack of support for Astorino, what “assurances” of support Christie gave to Astorino when they met, how this joint press conference came to be, how many debates they hope to have and Astorino’s take on Christie campaigning in New Hampshire but not New York.  Here is their joint press Q&A: