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Zephyr Teachout Embarrasses Cuomo By Winning 35.5% Of Primary Vote

Run as a Democrat, govern like a Republican? Nah, don't think so!

Zephyr Teachout, who was Howard Dean's campaign manager, is a real damned progressive. And you know how we kept saying we needed a progressive version of the Tea Party? A lot of Democratic politicians and campaign apparatchniks are sitting up and paying attention today.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York claimed the Democratic nomination for a second term on Tuesday, but at a considerable price: A liberal challenger with little money or name recognition, Zephyr Teachout, was on track to receive about a third of the vote, a signal of the potent dissatisfaction with Mr. Cuomo in his party’s left wing.

Mr. Cuomo avoided what could have been a more damaging blow to his prestige, as his choice for lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, a former congresswoman from Buffalo, soundly defeated Ms. Teachout’s running mate, Tim Wu.

[...] With 85 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Cuomo had 60.7 percent of the vote, compared with 35.5 percent for Ms. Teachout.

Though she ran her campaign on a shoestring and with scarcely any organizational support, Ms. Teachout was on pace to record the strongest challenge to an incumbent governor since primaries for the office were established in New York in 1970.

[...] Ms. Teachout carried counties in large portions of New York, from the Canadian border to New York City’s northern suburbs. She and Mr. Wu, who were endorsed by one of the major unions of state workers, also ran away with the race in Albany County and much of the capital region.

Sounding jubilant, Ms. Teachout gave what sounded like a victory speech. “I will not be your next governor, but the Democrats of this state have been heard,” she told supporters jammed into a nightclub in Manhattan.

In a show of confidence heading into the campaign season, Mr. Cuomo largely avoided doing the things that candidates do — debating, pressing the flesh and pointing out his opponent’s flaws. But that strategy may have misfired. The strong performance by Ms. Teachout, a legal scholar of political corruption who had never run for office, was an embarrassing rebuke to Mr. Cuomo, and it could put a dent in any national aspirations he may hold.


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Her support was driven in part by frustration among Democrats with Mr. Cuomo’s carefully calibrated way of governing. While he has been lauded by liberals in the state and nationally for bold action on topics like same-sex marriage and gun control, his posture on nuts-and-bolts issues like budgets and taxes has leaned more toward the right.

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