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Gubernatorial Candidate Zephyr Teachout Gears Up for Legal Challenge

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Now that petitions are in for the September primaries, potential legal challenges could take shape over the next couple of weeks for some of the candidates. The biggest could come in the governor's race as Andrew Cuomo may have to face a political newcomer, law school professor Zephyr Teachout. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Since announcing she was running first on the Working Families Party Line, and now as a Democrat, Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout has faced questions about whether she meets the residency requirement to run statewide.

To qualify to be on the ballot, Teachout needs to have lived here for five years prior to this year's election day.

"I've lived in New York five year, over five years. I meet the residency requirement," Teachout says.

Teachout moved to New York from North Carolina in June 2009. She lived with a friend in Manhattan, but her name was not on the lease or utility bills.

She moved to her own apartment in 2010, but that was after spending two months teaching at Harvard University in Boston.

Teachout stayed at that apartment for just a year and lived with friends at other points before moving to Brooklyn in 2012 where she lives now.

Her residency could face a court challenge.

Jerry Goldfeder is an election law attorney who doesn't represent any of the gubernatorial candidates.

"Well, they will look at anything and everything that relates to where a person lives. You can ask for documentation and you can question the person as to their habits. Ask for leases or deeds or mortgage documents," says Goldfeder.

"We're totally prepared for a legal challenge. We've got a great legal team and we also know that the minute we get challenged in court, our online supporters from across the state are going to pitch in to help out with any legal defense," Teachout says.

Once candidates submit signatures to qualify for the ballot, the authenticity of those signatures can also be challenged in court, and It happens in New York quite often.

"The bar association of the City of New York has estimated that approximately 50 percent of election law litigation occurs here in New York," Goldfeder says.

Now that the petitions have been filed, the Cuomo campaign can challenge Teachout on residency at any time, although it would not be heard by an Albany judge until two week's from last Thursday's filing deadline.

As for now, the Cuomo campaign will not say whether or not they plan to challenge.

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