NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Law professor Zephyr Teachout headed to court Thursday to defend her campaign to unseat Gov. Andrew Cuomo against claims that she hasn’t lived in New York long enough to be on next month’s Democratic Primary ballot.
“I’m a New Yorker,” Teachout said Thursday.
But as WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Martin Connor, the lawyer handling the residency challenge for governor, produced several documents– including tax returns– that listed Teachout’s hometown address in Vermont.
Teachout called the challenge frivolous.
“I think what it shows is that in the wake of the real scandal and the missteps of the Moreland Commission, Andrew Cuomo is scared,” she said.
Teachout, who now lives in Brooklyn, said she moved to New York in 2009 when she was hired by Fordham University. She said she has spent time during the summers in Vermont, where she was raised and where her family still lives, but that she remains a New York resident.
“I am completely confident that we will stay on the ballot and I welcome this challenge,” Teachout told the Associated Press. “It’s just evidence that Cuomo doesn’t want to face a primary. He doesn’t want to face questions about his leadership.”
As Diamond reported, protestors have recently showed up at her campaign events, holding signs that say “Come clean on your residency.”
Legal proceedings in the challenge are expected to take three days.
A spokesman for Cuomo’s campaign also declined to comment on the challenge Thursday.
Teachout mounted her bid to oust Cuomo after losing the endorsement of the left-leaning Working Families Party to the governor this spring. Cuomo won the backing of the party after promising to work for liberal priorities, including a higher minimum wage and broad public campaign financing.
Teachout has criticized Cuomo for backing business-friendly tax policies and charter schools and says he hasn’t done enough to combat income inequality. Polls show her campaign remains unknown to many voters.
The Democratic Primary is Sept. 9.
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