Left-Leaning Hopeful Begins Gubernatorial Challenge

ALBANY (AP) -

Liberal law professor Zephyr Teachout launched a primary challenge to unseat Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, acknowledging her status as an underdog but vowing to run a competitive campaign against the well-funded, popular incumbent.

Teachout, a Fordham University law professor, narrowly lost the endorsement of the left-leaning Working Families Party last month after Cuomo promised to support several liberal priorities, including a higher minimum wage and a broad public campaign financing system.

“You probably want to know how we’re going to win,” she said at a campaign kick-off Monday in Albany. “I know I’m an underdog. But I love New York, and New Yorkers love an underdog.”

Teachout said Cuomo is too focused on his own ambitions and the interest of wealthy donors. She faulted him for supporting business-friendly tax cuts and not doing enough to address income inequality. Columbia University law professor Tim Wu is running as her running mate.

Cuomo sounded unconcerned about his new challenge from the left.

“You have people on the extreme left and you have people on the extreme right,” he said. “That’s what you call a political contest.”