Zephyr Teachout on Going From a 'Curiosity' to a Progressive Trailblazer


This is the third episode of To the Left, a Jezebel video series chronicling the ways candidates who lost their elections affected the political climate.

While Zephyr Teachout lost her campaign to unseat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014, she still had—much like Cynthia Nixon’s 2018 challenge to Cuomo—a profound impact on New York politics. Not only did she push things left, she highlighted just how broken the current system really is.

Teachout’s campaign suffered from low funds and a lack of media attention, with almost 90 percent of voters reporting that they didn’t know much about her just one month before the Democratic primary, according to one poll.

But do you know who knew plenty about her? Andrew Cuomo. Even as the governor sued Teachout in an attempt to claim she wasn’t eligible for the office and avoided saying her name out loud on the campaign trail, he still took clear notice of her platform. She campaigned on a platform that promised fracking restrictions and an increased minimum wage. In December 2014, Cuomo banned fracking in the state and approved a $15 minimum wage plan in 2016, after politicians like New York City mayor Bill de Blasio saw the success of her campaign.

Watch the video above for more of Teachout’s reflections on her 2014 gubernatorial bid and the state of the Democratic Party.

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