Zephyr Teachout’s tenuous connection to New York’s 19th Congressional District are already becoming a campaign issue, within moments of the national political activist announcing her candidacy for the open NY-19 seat being vacated by Chris Gibson.
Campaign finance records held by the New York State Board of Elections (see graphic above) show that just 5-6 weeks ago, Teachout made a $350 donation to the campaign of Sara Niccoli for Supervisor in the Town of Palatine in Montgomery County. The address listed for that donation is in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, the conservative New York Post quickly reported that Teachout has only had an apartment in Amenia, at the southernmost end of the district, for about 10 months. Moreover, she apparently only registered to vote locally in the past two weeks:
“She said she began renting a house in Amenia in March 2015. Records show she registered to vote there on Jan. 12.”
While residency in a Congressional District is not required in order to run, it does pose at minimum a perception problem for Teachout—pretty much the identical problem faced by the past three losing Democratic candidates for this region.
Julian Schreibman, Sean Eldridge, and to a slightly lesser degree Scott Murphy were each painted by their Republican opponents as opportunistic interlopers with shallow or non-existent roots in the area. This allowed the Republicans to avoid substantive issues facing the district, and just focus (successfully) on drumming up a tired culture war between new vs. old residents.
Teachout has another thing in common with Schreibman: Both are lawyers who graduated from Yale in 1993. (The definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein might seem to apply.)
Will Yandik, a Town Board member in Livingston whose family has been farming in Columbia County for a century, and was a leader of the recent struggle against power line expansions through the area, has also announced his intention to run for the Democratic nomination. Yandik is a full-time resident who holds a degree from Princeton.