The Fordham Law professor challenging Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic Primary for Governor has won a court battle and will remain on the ballot next month...at least for now. The Cuomo campaign team had challenged Zephyr Teachout's New York State residency status and vows to appeal a judge's decision today. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
To run for Governnor, the state Constitution requires candidates to have lived in New York for at least five years prior to election day. A judge today ruled that Zephyr Teachout meets that requirement.
"What we had on our side was the truth. I've lived here since 2009. So, we spent a couple of days testifying about every one of my apartments and people who would come over for dinner and activities I've been involved in here in New York, and the trial just showed that I am a New Yorker," Teachout said.
According to the Cuomo campaign team, Teachout held a Vermont driver's license until just this year when she decided to run for governor. They also claimed she filed legal papers including tax returns that listed her mother's address in Vermont.
In a statement, former state Senator Martin Connor, who represents Cuomo's campaign in court said, "As the judge noted in his decision, Ms. Teachout admitted under oath that she misrepresented her address on official and tax documents. Will Ms. Teachout be paying the taxes owed to the state of new york? we will be appealing today's decision."
Cuomo, himself, spoke publicly about the legal challenge for the first time on Saturday.
"We are a nation and a state of laws, right? So there are laws that need to be complied with. If they complied with the law then there will be a primary. One of the laws is to run in a New York race, you have to be a New Yorker, which is sort of a common sense law," Cuomo said.
In a 12-page ruling, Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Edgar Walker wrote that Teachout has clearly "lived" in New York as that term is commonly understood.
"I mean, I'm thrilled. We can get this court case behind us and actually engage in the real issues. And now, Andrew Cuomo has no more excuse. We have to have a debate," Teachout said.
Teachout and Cuomo's names will both be on the Democratic Primary ballot on September 9, as will comedian and activist Randy Credico. Meantime, the latest poll shows Cuomo continues to lead his Republican rival Rob Astorino by more than thirty percentage points.