New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lost an effort to keep challenger Zephyr Teachout off the Democratic primary ballot in September when a judge ruled that she’s a resident of the state.
Cuomo’s campaign sued July 22 in state court in Brooklyn challenging the Vermont native’s residency. Gubernatorial candidates must live in New York for at least five years to be allowed on the ballot.
Justice Edgar J. Walker in Brooklyn ruled today that while Teachout has a “strong connection” with Vermont, her physical presence in New York after June 2009 and her expressed intent to remain there permanently are enough to establish it as her residence.
“There wasn’t supposed to be a primary in Andrew Cuomo’s New York,” Teachout said in an e-mailed statement. “Game on.”
Polls show that Cuomo, who’s seeking a second term, is expected to win in the primary and the November general election against Republican Rob Astorino, the executive for Westchester County.
Peter Kauffmann, a spokesman for Cuomo’s campaign, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment on the residency ruling.
Teachout, who was the director of Internet outreach for former Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, moved to New York in 2009 to take a job as a law professor at Fordham University in Manhattan. Last month, she submitted 45,000 petition signatures to get on the ballot, three times more than she needed.
Still, a survey released last month by Siena College in Loudonville, New York, showed 91 percent of Democrats are unfamiliar with her. Teachout said in an interview that she understands her candidacy is a long-shot. By running, Teachout said she hopes to at least influence the governor’s policies and show others around the U.S. that they can do the same.
The case is In the Matter of the Application of Harris Weiss and Austin Sternlicht, 700014/2014, New York State Supreme Court, Kings County (Brooklyn.)
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