As you know the Working Families Party toyed with the idea of running their own candidate for Governor instead of cross-endorsing the Democratic candidate as they have always done in the past. At the last minute their leadership cut a deal with Andrew Cuomo and they voted to give him the endorsement despite it being obvious the overwhelming majority of their members supported challenging him with their own progressive candidate. That candidate was the Dean campaigns own Zephyr Teachout.
Zephyr, a Democrat, has since been looking into running a challenge in the Democratic primary. A few minutes ago, via buzzfeed, she officially announced that it is on.
She has a website up here:
And an Actblue page here:
I know that it is hard to ask Democrats, many of whom like me, hold positions on state, county and town Democratic committees, to get involved in a challenge to a sitting elected Democrat. This is generally not done. But this is a case of Democrats engaging in the Democratic process in supporting a Democrat in a Democratic primary. This is not about “going third party” or “going Nader” or chancing throwing an election to the Republicans. This is about setting the direction of our state party, our state government, and potentially our country.
Gov. Cuomo has done some good things as Governor of New York and if he wins the primary I, as a good, strong, hard core Democrat, pledge to support him in the general election. But Cuomo is on the wrong side of the most important issue of our times… economic inequality… amongst other things such as the governmental reforms near and dear to many of our hearts. He is a centrist, corporate, Wall Street oriented Democrat at a time when our party needs to be the party of populist main street economic needs. He does not represent that. Zephyr Teachout does.
One of his first acts was to eliminate the millionaires tax which was one of the only good things to come out of his predecessors time in office. He talks to rooms full of Democrats with Republican phrasing such as putting an end to “tax and spend” and after eliminating the millionaires tax claims to have a created a "more progressive" tax structure. I have spoken to many Democrats in committee positions and virtually no one likes him. This includes various town and county committee chairs and state committee members. While his poll numbers remain good in New York I am convinced that his support his actually paper thin.
I met Zephyr 12 years ago during the Dean campaign, as some of you did, and I support her as a friend and as someone who shares my view of the direction politics and economics needs to go in this state and this country. I ask that you help me in supporting her in her primary campaign for Governor.
With the right effort this could become a very real challenge to the status quo. Cuomo campaigns and governs straight out of the 1990’s corporatist triangulation playbook. He is not a liberal lion like his father Mario. We have a chance here to change the story, to make it clear that Wall Street economics is no longer the way to go in the Democratic Party. That populist, main street policies are the right ones to pursue.
UPDATE: Timothy Wu formerly Board Chair of Free Press on the forefront of the battle for Net Neutrality has signed on as Zephyr's Lt. Governor candidate.
I know all of you have your own battles to fight but I’d like to ask that everyone do what they can to help us make this happen.
Andrew C. White
Stephentown Democratic Committee Chair
Rensselaer County Democratic Committee Vice Chair