Progressives Are Trying to Recruit Zephyr Teachout to Run for Congress

Zephyr Teachout. (Photo: Andrew Burton for Getty Images)
Zephyr Teachout. (Photo: Andrew Burton for Getty Images) (Photo: Andrew Burton for Getty Images)

A progressive organization is trying to recruit Zephyr Teachout, a liberal law professor who ran unsuccessfully against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, to run for Congress in the Hudson Valley.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which raised more than $1 million for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s first campaign, promised a “full-court press” for Ms. Teachout if she decides to pull the trigger. The PCCC joins the left-leaning Working Families Party and several local activists in pushing a Teachout bid.

“It makes sense that local activists are urging Zephyr Teachout to run for Congress,” said Stephanie Taylor, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “She has a strong track record of fighting corruption and big corporate interests on behalf of working families. She also has a history of appealing to voters across the political spectrum, and would be an amazing representative in Congress for this district.”

The PCCC, which backed Ms. Teachout in 2014, promised it would be “organizing local volunteers, fundraising, Facebook ads, an email to the group’s one million members, and a mobilization of staff resources all factor into a blitz campaign to draft Zephyr.”

Ms. Teachout, who recently told Politico New York she was “thinking about” running for the seat being vacated by Republican Chris Gibson, lives primarily in Brooklyn, but said she kept a residence in the district to facilitate a train commute to Fordham University, where she teaches. Members of Congress are not required by law to live in their districts, only in the state.

Though she would face charges of carpet-bagging, Ms. Teachout could be a formidable candidate. She rose to prominence after winning 34 percent of the vote against Mr. Cuomo, riding a wave of left-wing anger in that year’s Democratic primary. With little money and nonexistent name recognition, Ms. Teachout wasn’t expected to win any sizable share of the vote against the incumbent governor.

The swing district has several Republicans vying for the nod already, including former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso and businessman Andrew Heaney. Democrats are in a bind after their top candidate, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, took a pass on running.

Higher turnout in a presidential year will make the environment favorable to any Democrat who decides to run in the swing district, however.

Progressives Are Trying to Recruit Zephyr Teachout to Run for Congress