Zephyr Teachout beat Will Yandik by eight percentage points (54-46) for the county party’s endorsement for Congress in light voting at a convention of Ulster County Democratic committee members at Kingston City Hall Thursday night.
According to party clerks who counted the vote, 90 committee members (out of about 220) cast weighted ballots with 3,434 votes tallied for Teachout and 2,902 for Yandik. Voting was unofficial. Nominating petitions to appear on June 28’s primary ballot will begin circulating on Tuesday, according to the board of elections. Likely primaries in both the Democratic and Republican parties will determine who will contend in November for the 19th Congressional District seat.
Teachout seemed a strong favorite leading up the convention, with many of her vocal supporters predicting a 2-1 margin. On Monday, County Executive Mike Hein endorsed the former gubernatorial candidate from Dover Plains in Dutchess County. At Thursday’s party convention she was nominated by County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach and seconded by Rosendale Councilwoman Jen Metzger. Yandik, a two-term town of Livingston councilman, was nominated by Marcy Goulart of Saugerties and seconded by Woodstock Councilwoman Laura Ricci.
Auerbach, in nominating Teachout, cited “disruptive, progressive” party elders from President Martin Van Buren of Kinderhook, who left office in 1841, to former congressman Maurice Hinchey of Saugerties, who retired in 2013. Hinchey, who did not attend the convention, drew the loudest round of applause.
Goulart spoke of Yandik’s record of sustainable farming and environmental advocacy. “This is a man that does. He gets things done,” she said.
Both candidates were warmly received by a crowd of over 200. Only committee members were allowed to vote.
Hein started proceedings by nominating Sen. Chuck Schumer, whom he called ” my dear friend,” for a fourth six-year term. Schumer was endorsed by the state committee last month.
Yandik pledged to carry the fight for nomination to the primary. “It was a close vote,” he said.
“Give ’em hell, Zephyr!” one of her supporters yelled after the vote was announced.
“I will! I will!” she called back.