New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) held back a surprisingly strong primary challenge from Fordham law school professor Zephyr Teachout, according to the Associated Press and NY1, which both called the race Tuesday evening.
As of 10:30 p.m., with about half the state’s precincts reporting, Cuomo led Teachout roughly 60% to 36%. This was a stronger performance for Teachout than the 20% to 30% most observers had predicted for her.
Cuomo held many advantages, including the full-throated support of the state’s Democratic Party, a campaign war chest filled with tens of millions of dollars, and strong name recognition throughout the state.
Despite his win, Cuomo’s campaign tactics left many veteran observers puzzled. Incumbents traditionally ignore their lesser-known challengers but Cuomo’s campaign unsuccessfully sued to try and keep Teachout off the ballot and even sent its volunteers to follow Teachout around and stage mysterious protests at her events.
Though he is a Democrat, Cuomo’s approach to politics has nevertheless angered many critics on the left, which fuelled Teachout’s challenge. Liberal activists skewered Cuomo for his reported support of State Senate Republicans and his more moderate approach to fiscal policy. Cuomo has also been sharply criticised for shutting down his own anticorruption commission before its work was complete, a move that is being investigated by federal prosecutors.
The AP also called the lieutenant governor’s race for Cuomo’s endorsed running mate, ex-Rep. Kathy Hochul.
Cuomo is strongly favoured in November against Republican Rob Astorino.
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