The Empire State Strikes Back
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo won his Democratic primary on Tuesday night for a second term — but with a surprisingly moderate-sized victory for someone who previously seemed like an unstoppable political force. His little-known opponent, Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University, represented a strong and vocal opposition from Cuomo's left.
With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Cuomo has 61 percent of the vote against Teachout, with 35 percent. In the separate primary for lieutenant governor, Cuomo's running mate Kathy Hochul, a former congresswoman from the Buffalo area, has 59 percent; Teachout's running mate, Columbia University law professor Tim Wu, has 41 percent.
Teachout based her campaign on opposition to Cuomo's centrist policies, including his record of fiscal austerity, and gained the support (or at least the neutrality) of many prominent public employee unions. For his part, Cuomo has touted his progressive accomplishments in areas such as gun control and legalizing gay marriage, while saying that he made the decisions needed for state government to function properly again.
Cuomo has also been under fire — and is reportedly even under federal investigation — for his alleged interference in a commission on public corruption, which he ultimately disbanded. Nevertheless, Cuomo remains the very heavy favorite to win re-election in November against the Republican nominee, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed Cuomo with a lead of 56 percent to 28 percent.