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Cuomo victorious but Teachout takes a third of primary vote

Governor Andrew Cuomo and his running mate Kathy Hochul beat off a challenge from two law school professors in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. But, challenger Zephyr Teachout won over one third of the vote, opening  a potential weakness for the incumbent governor among progressive voters.

Cuomo did not appear publicly after his victory, but instead issued a statement. In it, he congratulates his chosen running mate, former Western New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul for her win over Tim Wu.  Cuomo also for the first time mentions his defeated opponent Zephyr Teachout by name, saying she and Wu ran a “spirited campaign” and credits them for “having the courage to make their voices heard”.

Teachout who won one third of the vote, the highest percentage of any challenger in over 40 years of primaries in the state, spoke to excited supporters

“I will not be your next governor,” Teachout said. “But the Democrats of this state have been heard.”

The race now shifts to the general election, where Cuomo and Hochul face Republican candidate Rob Astorino and his running mate Chris Moss. 

Reporter Jenna Flanagan was at the Teachout /Wu event in Manhattan Tuesday night and reports:

Kwame Akosah, a 3rd year law student of Teachout volunteered for the Teachout/Wu campaign

Even with the loss he felt the results were tremendous considering Democratic challenger was completely unknown just a few months ago but her campaign serves another purpose,

“This sends a really good message to people like Cuomo that this is not gonna stand. You cannot rely on these old tactics of triangulation and run on a few progressive social issues and run like a republican on economic issues. You have to really pay attention to your progressive base.”

Now that Cuomo is the sole candidate on the democratic ticket, Akosah says he’ll likely skip the general election, saying Cuomo doesn’t need his vote to win.

Teachout suppoorters Robert Schwartz and Myram Ribban say unlike the governor, they felt Teachout championed progressive values.

They both say they were moved to support her campaign because they are tired of politics as usual in Albany.

Schwartz says he’ll likely support the green party candidate in November to further his protest vote.

“Cuomo the way he conducted this campaign, he tried to keep her off the ballot he wouldn’t debate her his cowardice when he approached her in a parade… he’s gonna safely win. If there was a question that the republican would win yeah I would vote for him but I think this election he’ll win easily and I have the luxury of voting my values.”

Ribban says she may still support Cuomo in November IF he acknowledges liberal democrats and not conservative centrists.

“If he takes the lesson of what I think this campaign was, Zephyr and Wu’s campaign and makes some real steps to not take progressives in New York for granted, so I have an open mind about what I’m gonna do. But don’t take us for granted.”

Cuomo will now face Westchester County Executive, Republican Rob Astorono in the general election for governor in November.

Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio.
WMHT/Capital Region Reporter for the Innovation Trail