Zephyr Teachout announces run for New York attorney general

New York Elections

NEW YORK — Law professor Zephyr Teachout will seek the Democratic nomination for attorney general of New York.

Teachout made the announcement on Monday in Brooklyn. She outlined several top priorities, including corruption, monopolies, climate justice and civil rights.

“These are big fights, but you know I’m not scared,” Teachout said outside the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Brooklyn Municipal Building. “You may not always agree with me, but you know I’m independent … You know I will hold the powerful accountable even when it’s hard.”

The 50-year-old had said earlier that she would run for attorney general if incumbent Letitia James announced a run for governor. James announced her campaign for governor on Oct. 29.

Teachout is an associate professor of law at Fordham University and a scholar on corruption and antitrust laws.

Teachout ran for the Democratic nomination for attorney general in 2018 but lost to James. She has also run unsuccessfully for governor and for Congress.

However, in the process she has become a household name inside progressive New York political circles. That was underscored by her endorsement on Monday by Assemblyman Ron Kim. The Queens Democrat stood up to then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo on COVID deaths in nursing homes and his alleged bullying behavior last year, which marked the beginning of the end for Cuomo.

Several investigations into the Cuomo years are still pending.

“I 100% think she will be an independent attorney general who will hold all in power accountable, including Andrew Cuomo,” Kim said on Monday. “He is just a symptom of a very corrupt system, and she will take all of that on as attorney general at a time when people demand accountability.”

There are more names rumored to be running for attorney general, but so far the only other declared candidates on the Democratic side are Westchester state Sen. Shelley Mayer and former New York financial services superintendent Maria Vullo. On the Republican side, New York City attorney Michael Henry has also declared his candidacy.

Teachout made some of her biggest inroads in previous campaigns by talking about climate change. She is already signaling she’ll do that again, especially after New Yorkers approved a constitutional amendment saying they deserve clean air and water. Similar measures in other states have touched off years of climate justice litigation.

“What I think it represents is a real mandate from the public,” Teachout said.

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