The field of progressive Democrats running for office across the state is filling up fast. On Monday, Zephyr Teachout, a professor at Fordham Law School who wrote the book, wrote Corruption in America, officially launched its second bid for the New York Attorney General, who stood outside Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s town hall in Brooklyn.
“The Attorney General’s office is the largest public interest law firm in the country,” Teachout said, “and we have a real opportunity and responsibility to hold power accountable and get things done for people.”
The left-leaning Teachout, who exceeded expectations in her debut run for statewide office in 2014, challenging former Governor Andrew Cuomo, she had signaled that she would enter the attorney general’s race if James ran for governor; James made that announcement late last month.
Teachout first ran for State AG in 2018, losing in a quadruple primary to James.
In Monday’s announcement, Teachout was flanked by other progressive elected officials, including Assembly members Emily Gallagher of Brooklyn and Ron Kim of Queens. Both praised her commitment to speaking out against corruption in companies operating in New York and within the state government itself.
“When people like Emily and I fight corruption in Albany, our voices get muffled,” said Kim, describing the institutional backlash he experienced when he first spoke out against bullying former governor Cuomo. He said that when others told him to come back, Teachout stood by his side, “and she will continue to hold mighty forces accountable.”
Teachout proclaimed national support for her campaign from prominent, forward-thinking legal experts and advocates — including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig and environmentalist Bill McKibben. Teachout has also gained the support of more than two dozen local elected officials across the state.
In another symbol of how Teachout tries to define her candidacy, centering on her role as wife and mother, she was also joined by her midwife, Eugenia Montesinos, who helped deliver her now 3-year-old son.
Montesinos claimed that Teachout understands issues leading to increased maternal mortality, especially among black and other pregnant people of color, and would serve as an advocate for women’s health from her perch in the state AG office.
This is Teachout’s fourth campaign for public office. She also ran for Congress in 2016 in Dutchess County, winning the primary but losing in the general election to former Republican Congressman John Faso.
She becomes the second candidate to officially announce a bid for the Attorney General’s office. State Senator Shelley Mayer, which represents parts of Westchester County, including parts of Yonkers, White Plains, New Rochelle and Rye, announced its bid for state AG earlier this month.
Other potential candidates include Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, Queens State Senator Michael Gianaris, and Long Island Congressman Kathleen Rice. Also on Monday, attorney John A. Sarcone III, who runs a private practice in Croton-on-Hudson, launched a bid for the Republican nomination for state AG at an event outside the Westchester County courthouse.
The last Republican to hold the office of AG was Dennis Vacco, who lost a re-election bid to Eliot Spitzer in 1998.