Howie Hawkins Says ‘It’s Open’ Whether Zephyr Teachout Will Back Him

Howie Hawkins today. (Photo: Ross Barkan)

Howie Hawkins today. (Photo: Ross Barkan)

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for governor and the self-described “last progressive” in the race, said today he recently had a conversation with liberal darling Zephyr Teachout about a possible endorsement.

“We talked about a week ago for a half hour. Good conversation, on issues, how to advance the politics of the state. I got the impression she’s not going to endorse Cuomo and it’s open whether she’ll endorse me,” Mr. Hawkins told the Observer outside a criminal courthouse in Manhattan where he was holding a campaign event.

“She’s making her own political calculations. I would welcome her support and I’m really working hard to get the people that voted for her in the primary to vote for me in the general because I’m the last progressive on the ballot,” he added. (Ms. Teachout did not immediately return a request for comment.)

Ms. Teachout, a law professor, ran in the Democratic primary against Mr. Cuomo, winning the highest share of the vote of any primary challenger against an incumbent since primaries were instituted in New York. Now on a book tour, Ms. Teachout is taking time to stump for Democratic State Senate candidates but has been noncommittal about endorsing Mr. Cuomo, who she repeatedly assailed for being too conservative.

The third place finisher in that Democratic primary, comedian Randy Credico, already endorsed Mr. Hawkins. With more money, staff and name recognition than when he ran for office four years ago, Mr. Hawkins is hoping an unexpectedly strong showing can boost the standing of his party and liberals in New York State.

Today, Mr. Hawkins was outside a criminal courthouse in Manhattan to denounce Mr. Cuomo for not offering clemency to nonviolent drug offenders. Unlike Mr. Cuomo, he also supports the legalization of marijuana and ripped the state’s criminal justice system for incarcerating too many blacks and Latinos.

“I think he’s pandering to fear in the white suburbs and that fear is not so much racial as it is class. They don’t want the social problems in the inner cities to come into their neighborhoods or they’re afraid when they come downtown, they might deal with street crime,” he said. “And I think he’s pandering to their worst fears instead of trying to bring us together.”

At least one person walking by vowed to vote for Mr. Hawkins. After the press conference, another man bounded down the steps, stopping near the gubernatorial contender.

“I just beat two indictments!” he shouted, before walking off.