Cuomo challenger Zephyr Teachout’s residency put to the test


In one sentence, Article IV Section 2 of the New York State Constitution lays out the qualifications for becoming the state’s governor:

“No person shall be eligible to the office of governor or lieutenant-governor, except a citizen of the United States, of the age of not less than thirty years, and who shall have been five years next preceding the election a resident of this state.”

TeachoutAPDoes Zephyr Teachout, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s potential Democratic primary challenger, meet the requirements? The courts will ultimately decide.

Teachout is facing a Cuomo-backed legal challenge to her residency, which claims Teachout hasn’t been a continuous resident of New York for the last five years. The challenge accuses Teachout of maintaining a driver’s license in other states over the past five years, while not formally changing her address to a New York residence until well after she started teaching at Fordham Law School in 2009.

The case in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn was brought by two lower Hudson Valley residents: Austin Sternlicht of Rye and Harris Weiss of New City, the same two people who are challenging Teachout’s petitions to get on the ballot. But by all appearances, Sternlicht and Weiss are plaintiffs in name only; they’re being represented by former state Senate Minority Leader Martin Connor, a prominent election-law lawyer who has questioned Teachout’s residency for months.

“Teachout is not qualified to hold the office of Governor of the State of New York since she has not been a continuous resident of the State from November 9, 2009 to the present time as mandated by Article IV, Section 2, of the New York State Constitution,” according to Connor’s filing.

In a response to the challenge — first reported by Capital New York — Teachout’s attorney points to her start date at Fordham Law in Manhattan: August 2009. Her response denies holding out-of-state driver’s licenses for long periods of times over the last five years and changing her address long arriving in New York in 2009.

In an interview with host Fred Dicker on WGDJ-AM on Friday, Teachout said she is eligible to run, calling it an “open and shut case.”

“Most importantly, it shows again (Cuomo’s) weakness,” Teachout said. “Why is he trying to kick me off the ballot?”

(Mike Groll/AP file photo)


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  1. Counterpoint on

    I’ll go with the law professor’s analysis (that no legal challenge will prove that she has not maintained her NY residency for the 5 years that have passed since she moved here in or about August, 2009) over hired gun Marty Connor’s desperation challenge on behalf of our beleaguered governor – the gall of this woman to challenge King Andrew! Come on Governor, man up. Don your suite of armor, mount your war horse, and meet her on the jousting court.
    Guess they found no merit on challenging the petitions themselves. Hope the federal indictments don’t come down before election day.
    What on earth are they afraid of?

  2. Sternlick and Weiss are two political operatives and did the bidding of an election lawyer and a capo in Albany

  3. let’s understand the difference between residency and
    domocile…you can only have one domocile but you
    can have as many residency’s as you want…so if the
    new york law says residency she only has to meet
    the minimum threshold