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A progressive challenger to Governor Cuomo emerges

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the rising dissatisfaction with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo among the state's progressives — many of them are unhappy with the governor's economic policies, which they feel are too skewed toward the wealthy. Resistance to Cuomo was becoming centered in the state's Working Families Party, which the American Prospect called "the most effective political operation the American left has seen in decades." When I interviewed members of the party's state committee, who will determine the party's endorsement at a convention tomorrow night, they were harshly critical of the governor — but they weren't yet sure who else the party might endorse.

Yesterday, that candidate may have emerged — Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout announced that she would seek the WFP's endorsement. Teachout was the director of internet organizing for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, and a former national director for the Sunlight Foundation. She has long been active on money in politics issues. And last night, WFP co-chairwoman Karen Scharff told the New York Times that she expects the party's endorsement to go to Teachout. Though it's extremely unlikely that Teachout will win, if New York liberals end up viewing her as a plausible candidate, she could draw significant support from Cuomo's left — and that would make a future presidential bid by Cuomo a much tougher sell. For more on how Cuomo got to this point, check out my article, "Governor 1 Percent."

Further reading

  • Blake Zeff at Salon reported on Cuomo's "last-minute frenzy to avoid a liberal challenge."
  • Will Bruenlle and Jimmy Vielkind of Capital New York have a good, thorough rundown on the logistics of the convention, and its possible outcomes.
  • Alec MacGillis wrote about Cuomo's problem on his left at TNR.