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Professor Seeks Third-Party Nod for Governor

Professor Seeks Third-Party Nod for Governor
Fordham University professor looks to challenge Cuomo.

On the eve of the convention for one of the state's leading third parties, Fordham University law professor Zephyr Teachout said Friday that she's seeking its nomination for governor.

   Teachout, an expert on campaign finance and corruption, said she's asking for the Working Families Party nomination because Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has failed to prevent wealthy and corporate donors from influencing state politics.

   "The system is rigged for the rich and powerful, and as part of that broken system, Andrew Cuomo isn't going to fix it. People's voices aren't being heard," said Teachout, a Vermont native.

   The Working Families Party, a coalition of unions and progressive groups, supported Cuomo in 2010. But its members have criticized his support for charter schools and tax cuts for businesses.

   "Cuomo not only failed to do anything real to prevent wealthy and corporate donors from buying our politicians, but proposed severe cuts in education funding while giving massive tax breaks to bankers and billionaires," Teachout said.

   A Quinnipiac poll released last week indicated that a challenger to Cuomo's left would cut into his lead over his Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

   On Thursday, Cuomo said he would continue to fight for public campaign finance, a priority to the Working Families Party. The Democrat went as far as to say he would denounce the Senate majority, which consists of Republicans and a breakaway group of five Democrats, if they don't pass a public campaign finance law before the end of June.

   "Absent of a significant development, it looks like Zephyr Teachout will be the Working Families Party nominee," a spokesman for the party said.