Congressional update: Enter Teachout?

Zephyr Teachout. (Photo: Phyllis McCabe)

Zephyr Teachout. (Photo: Phyllis McCabe)

June 28, primary day for the race for New York’s 19th Congressional District, is just about half a year from now, but the process is warming up.

While Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach, who’s expressed interest in the Democratic line after County Executive Mike Hein decided to keep his hat on his head last month, hasn’t yet announced a final decision, a local social media movement has sprung up to draft a high-profile progressive into the mix. On Facebook, the page “Run Zephyr Run — Drafting Zephyr Teachout to Run for Congress in NY-19” urges the academic and former gubernatorial candidate to jump into the race for the Democratic nomination. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson is stepping down after this year.

“Zephyr Teachout’s candidacy would tap into the demand for outsider candidates, not typical politicians,” reads the page’s “About” section. “Teachout’s non-traditional background as a crusader against corruption, professor and activist suits the political moment.” The page also notes that Teachout won 62 percent of the vote in the counties comprising the 19th in her unsuccessful Democratic primary bid against Andrew Cuomo in 2014 — the strongest result in any congressional district in New York.


According to page organizer Pam Krimsky of Highland, they have been in contact with Teachout, but not recently, and Teachout has a home within the district, in Dover Plains in eastern Dutchess. Attempts to reach Teachout for comment were not successful as of Tuesday afternoon.

On the Republican side, Millbrook’s Andrew Heaney, who’s seeking the GOP nod against (so far) Assemblyman Pete Lopez of Schoharie County and former assemblyman John Faso of Columbia County, reported Monday that he’s raised over $1 million toward the race, $761,600 in cash on hand and more than $300,000 in the last few months of 2015. He also blasted President Obama’s executive order on guns. Saying he was “deeply concerned” by the president’s move, he added, “If the president wants more gun control, he needs to take it up with Congress.”