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Zephyr Teachout declares candidacy for NY AG

Zephyr Teachout
Facebook: Zephyr Teachout
Zephyr Teachout

Perennial progressive candidate Zephyr Teachout has formally announced that she will run for New York attorney general in 2022.

Teachout is a law professor at Fordham University who got her degrees at Yale University and Duke University and grew up in Vermont. She’s better known to New Yorkers for her campaigns for political office.

Teachout primaried then-Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014 as a progressive Democratic candidate, getting 36% of the vote. She also unsuccessfully ran for Congress, and in the 2018 primary for attorney general, where she lost to Tish James.

James is now running for governor, which leaves the attorney general’s seat open.

Teachout says if she wins the post, her top priority would be fighting corruption.

“I have been fighting against corruption for my entire career and I will go after politicians who lie, and who think they are above the law,” Teachout said. “You know I will not stand for it.”

She says she also wants to take on big corporations who abuse their authority, including the pharmaceutical industry, big tech and polluters. She says she would also fight to protect voting rights and further racial equality.

Teachout, who says she has the support of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who was chief prosecutor in the George Floyd murder trial, was joined at her announcement by New York progressive politicians. They include Assemblyman Ron Kim, who tangled with Cuomo over deaths in nursing homes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. The ex-governor and his aides are accused of hiding the true number of deaths of nursing homes residents during the pandemic. Cuomo resigned in August over a sexual harassment scandal.

Kim says he trusts Teachout to help protect the elderly.

He says other political leaders discouraged him from taking on the then-powerful governor.

“They told me to shut up, they told me to back down against Cuomo’s corruption,” Kim said. “But you know who was there with me from day one? Zephyr Teachout was there.”

Teachout is likely to face competition in the June Democratic primary. Others who have expressed interest in the job include Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris and Senator Shelley Mayer, as well as former superintendent of the state Department of Financial Services Maria Vullo.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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