New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his running mate, Kathy Hocul, won their primary last night each defeating a more liberal candidate. Governor Cuomo defeated Zephyr Teachout, a professor who ran on a platform of fighting corruption while Kathy Hocul defeated Tim Wu, who is best known for coining the term “net neutrality” in 2003. Teachout and Wu ran a progressive, but bare-bones, campaign that emphasized fighting corruption and tech issues, such as implementing statewide net neutrality.
Polling prior to the primary showed Teachout getting about 20% of the vote. In some ways, Teachout’s candidacy raised more awareness about Cuomo’s failings than it did about Teachout. Partially as a result of Teachout’s better-than-expected performance has led to some analysts speculating that Cuomo’s national ambitions will be hindered. Cuomo is seen as a possible 2016 presidential contender.
The New York Times decided not to endorse in the gubernatorial primary, arguing that Cuomo was corrupt, but Teachout lacked the political willpower needed in Albany. However, the editorial board did back Wu over Hocul for the lieutenant governor race. Wu’s success in Manhattan has led some to speculate he could run for Public Advocate in New York City.
While Teachout’s campaign lacked major funds and majority support, the campaign was backed by major progressive groups, such as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. The PCCC’s co-founder, Stephanie Taylor, was bearish on Cuomo’s future, “This was an election about accountability, and the message to Governor Cuomo and the nation is clear: You will be held accountable if you run as a Democrat and govern as a Republican. Cuomo has supported corrupt economic policies that put corporations over working families, and now he is facing the reckoning. This is a major embarrassment for the Governor, crushing his presidential ambitions.”