Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s primary rival Zephyr Teachout said today she was committed to helping the Democrats win control of the State Senate–and highlighted upstate Democratic State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk and James Kemmerer, challenger to Brooklyn GOP State Senator Martin Golden, as two candidates she hoped to stump for.
At a Manhattan rally for her former running mate Tim Wu’s signature issue of “net neutrality,” Ms. Teachout expressed admiration for Ms. Tkaczyk, whose district includes counties where the Fordham University law professor drew more votes than the governor. Ms. Tkaczyk faces a tight re-election fight against Republican George Amedore, who Ms. Tkaczyk defeated by a razor-thin margin in 2012–a feat Ms. Teachout said she would like to help the Democrat repeat.
“I’ve supported her for years. I think she’s an extraordinary politician. She’s strong on public education and on campaign finance reform,” Ms. Teachout told the Observer. “I’d love to help in that race in any way I can.”
Ms. Teachout also said she wanted to give a boost to Mr. Kemmerer, who–like herself–is a poorly funded long-shot opponent to a powerful incumbent. The academic–whose area of expertise is political corruption–alluded to Mr. Golden’s history of spending campaign money at his family’s catering hall and allocating funding to suspect Orthodox Jewish non-profits.
“Jamie Kemmerer’s race is an important race,” said Ms. Teachout. “He’s fighting an uphill battle against someone who has some serious issues with public corruption.” (Mr. Golden’s campaign spending is legal under current regulations, and he has not been implicated in any wrongdoing.)
The senate is currently controlled by the Republican Party and a breakaway group of Democrats. The breakaway group, the Independent Democratic Conference, promised to govern the senate with mainline Democrats after the fall elections.
Ms. Teachout, a first-time candidate running with little money and name recognition, garnered 34 percent of the vote against Mr. Cuomo last week, a figure that was much higher than many political pundits predicted. She visited a fund-raiser for the Brooklyn Democratic Party at Junior’s Restaurant this morning–though she said that was a coincidence, and had just happened to eating there with a friend–and has not ruled out future bids for office.
Ms. Tkaczyk, Mr. Golden, Mr. Kemmerer and Mr. Amedore did not immediately respond to requests for comment.