MoveOn.org Sort of Endorses Teachout-Wu

Zephyr Teachout with Tim Wu. (Photo: Facebook)

Zephyr Teachout with Tim Wu. (Photo: Facebook)

Progressive political action committee MoveOn.org sent an e-mail this morning encouraging New York Democrats to support dark horse gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial candidates Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu in today’s primary–though carefully avoiding a formal endorsement.

Ilya Sheyman, a former Illinois congressional candidate and executive director of the 16-year-old liberal advocacy group–formed in 1998 in reaction to the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton–sent subscribers to its e-mail list a message entitled “Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu.” The e-mail recalled a survey of the group’s New York members that showed 73 percent of them wanted to see a challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo from the left, and the drama of the Working Families Party convention in June–where the labor-backed third party weighed running Ms. Teachout on its ballot line, but decided to instead endorse Mr. Cuomo after he agreed to pursue a number of left-wing policies in his second term.

The message, however, reminded Democrats they can still cast a protest vote for Ms. Teachout and Mr. Wu.

“Governor Cuomo has made some big commitments to pass progressive legislation—including support for the DREAM Act, the Women’s Equality Act, public financing of elections, and an increase in the minimum wage. And he’s committed to help give the State Senate a Democratic majority. This was a significant shift for the Governor, and in return for these commitments, the Working Families Party agreed to endorse Gov. Cuomo in the general election this November,” Ms. Sheyman wrote. “But many progressive voters still want to express their dissatisfaction with Gov. Cuomo—and vote positively for someone they feel more closely represents their values. If you’re a registered Democrat in New York you can do that by voting for Zephyr Teachout for Governor and Tim Wu for Lieutenant Governor in the primary election TODAY.”

The e-mail outlined Ms. Teachout’s and Mr. Wu’s backgrounds as academics, and cited portions of the New York Times‘ non-endorsement of Mr. Cuomo that encourage voters “who want to register their disappointment with Mr. Cuomo’s record” to cast ballots for Ms. Teachout. It then quoted the Times‘ endorsement of Mr. Wu, which referred to him as “a fresh perspective” and described Mr. Cuomo’s running mate, former Erie County Clerk and Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, as having “a deeply troubling record” due to her historically right-of-center stances on healthcare, gun control and the environment.

Ms. Sheyman, however, concluded without explicitly calling for voters to support Ms. Teachout and Mr. Wu, and instead just urged them to head to the polls.

“Regardless of your party affiliation and who you’re ultimately voting for, since getting out to vote is so important, we’re tracking when MoveOn members are planning to vote today. Polls are open until 9 p.m tonight,” Ms. Sheyman wrote.

A note at the bottom of the e-mail makes it clear the message was paid for by the MoveOn.org PAC. The organization did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read the full text of the e-mail below:

Dear New York MoveOn member,

Today is the Democratic Primary election across the state of New York.

Earlier this year, MoveOn members across the Empire State weighed in, and 73% of respondents said they wanted to see a progressive challenger run against incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo—citing concerns like his close ties to Wall Street.

Since then, thanks to pressure from our friends at the Working Families Party, Governor Cuomo has made some big commitments to pass progressive legislation—including support for the DREAM Act, the Women’s Equality Act, public financing of elections, and an increase in the minimum wage. And he’s committed to help give the State Senate a Democratic majority. This was a significant shift for the Governor, and in return for these commitments, the Working Families Party agreed to endorse Gov. Cuomo in the general election this November.

But many progressive voters still want to express their dissatisfaction with Gov. Cuomo—and vote positively for someone they feel more closely represents their values. If you’re a registered Democrat in New York you can do that by voting for Zephyr Teachout for Governor and Tim Wu for Lieutenant Governor in the primary election TODAY.

Zephyr Teachout is a long-time anti-corruption activist and legal scholar running for Governor, and Tim Wu, an author, policy advocate, professor at Columbia Law School, and advocate for “net neutrality” (he actually coined the term!) is running for Lieutenant Governor.

Here’s how The New York Times put it:

“[T]hose who want to register their disappointment with Mr. Cuomo’s record on changing the culture of Albany may well decide that the best way to do that is to vote for Ms. Teachout (…) that impulse could send a powerful message to the governor and the many other entrenched incumbents in Albany that a shake-up is overdue.”

And here’s what the Times had to say about the race for Lieutenant Governor in their endorsement of Tim Wu, and against Gov. Cuomo’s choice of Kathy Hochul2:

“Mr. Wu, a political newcomer, offers a fresh perspective and a new voice to counter Albany’s entrenched players. Ms. Hochul does not, and she has a deeply troubling record on health reform, gun control and environmental deregulation. For these reasons, we recommend Mr. Wu in the Democratic primary.”

Regardless of your party affiliation and who you’re ultimately voting for, since getting out to vote is so important, we’re tracking when MoveOn members are planning to vote today. Polls are open until 9 p.m tonight.

When will you be voting? (Not sure if you’re registered or where to vote? Click here.)
I’ll vote before work/school.
I’ll vote at lunchtime.
I’ll vote after work/school.
I’ll vote at another time during the day.
I already voted.
I don’t plan to vote today, or I’m not eligible to vote.
Thanks for all you do.

–Ilya, Milan, Alejandro, Maria, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. “The Governor’s Primary in New York,” The New York Times, August 27, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300649&id=101035-24772051-sAcMSSx&t=7

2. “Timothy Wu for Lieutenant Governor,” The New York Times, August 28, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300650&id=101035-24772051-sAcMSSx&t=8
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PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Updated to correct a spelling error to Ms. Sheyman’s name and add biographical detail.

MoveOn.org Sort of Endorses Teachout-Wu