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Fordham Law Professor Plans to Challenge Cuomo in Democratic Primary

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After failing to get the nomination of the Working families Party at their convention last month, Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout says she plans to run for governor against Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Zephyr Teachout said her hope all along was to run for governor as a Democrat.

"I'm a Democrat. I'm a registered Democrat. I care a lot about the future of the Democratic party," she said. "And I think the fight, the contest that Andrew Cuomo and I will have will be a contest about what it means to be a New York Democrat."

Last month, Teachout spoke to delegates at the Working Families Party convention in Albany and asked for their support. She ended up losing that bid after Cuomo, labor unions and Mayor Bill de Blasio struck a deal where Cuomo agreed to campaign for a Democratic majority in the state Senate. With that promise, he also committed to passing progressive legislation in Albany, including campaign finance reform and the Dream Act.

Many of the rank and file members supported Teachout and were disappointed when she lost.

"I had an incredibly warm reception at the Working Families Party Convention, and the interest in my candidacy there was actually quite inspirational in terms of me thinking about whether I should pursue a very different primary, the Democratic primary," Teachout said.

In a statement, Working Families Party State Director Bill Lipton said, "We encourage progressives to support Governor Cuomo in the Democratic primary and vote for him on the Working Families line in November."

Cuomo has tried to sidestep questions about politics while the legislature remains in session in Albany, and he needs to work with Republicans in the state Senate. However, the state's political conventions, which were held in May, disrupted that plan.

"The Republicans went to their convention, Democrats, Working Families Party convention, and you then had a big political discussion. We then have to come back and complete our governmental work," Cuomo said. "And I have prided myself governmentally in being able to work across the aisle, as you know."

Teachout has until next month to petition and get her name on the ballot. A poll had shown that a challenge to Cuomo from the Working Families Party would cut into his lead in the general election. What's not clear at this point is how much a primary challenge from within the Democratic party would hurt the governor's standing.

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