Zephyr Teachout

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Zephyr Teachout
Zephyr Teachout.jpg
Teachout at a photo shoot West Side, New York
Born (1971-10-24) October 24, 1971 (age 45)[1]
Seattle, Washington, U.S.[2]
Residence Clinton, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Yale University
Duke University School of Law
Occupation Associate Professor of Law
Organization Fordham University
Spouse(s) Nick Juliusburger

Zephyr Rain Teachout (born October 24,[1] 1971) is an American academic, political activist, and former political candidate. She is an Associate Professor of Law at Fordham University and worked with the Occupy Wall Street movement to educate activists in corporate law and policy.[3]

In 2014, Teachout ran for the Democratic Party nomination for governor of New York and lost to incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo, receiving 34% of the primary vote.[4]

In August 2015, Teachout became CEO and board chair for the campaign finance reform-oriented organization Mayday PAC, replacing Lawrence Lessig. She stepped down from this position in December 2015 to run for the United States House of Representatives in New York's 19th congressional district.[5] Teachout won the Democratic primary before losing to Republican John Faso in the November 8, 2016, general election.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

The second of five children,[7] Zephyr Teachout was born in Seattle, Washington, to Peter Teachout, a constitutional law professor at Vermont Law School, and Mary Miles Teachout, a state court judge.[8] Her father served in the United States Army as a lieutenant during the Vietnam War and has a law degree from Harvard Law School.[8]

She was raised on a farm outside of Norwich, Vermont.[7][8] She attended Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she was a champion cross-country runner.[8]

Teachout attended Yale University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1993. She went on to receive two simultaneous degrees from Duke University in 1999: a JD summa cum laude and a Master of Arts in political science.[9] After earning her law degree, Teachout clerked for Chief Judge Edward Roy Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.[10]


Teachout is a tenured Associate Professor of Law at Fordham Law School. She was formerly a Visiting Professor of Law at Duke University and a lecturer at the University of Vermont.[10] She served as the Director of Internet Organizing for the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign. In 2009, she helped found the Antitrust League.[11]

She was the first national director of the Sunlight Foundation, which promotes transparency and accountability in government.[12] She volunteered at Occupy Wall Street, where she encouraged the movement to focus on the importance of decentralized power, citing the ideas of James Madison.[13][14]

2014 New York gubernatorial campaign[edit]

Teachout shaking hands with National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) president Larry Goldbetter at the "We Will Not Go Back" march and rally held on August 23, 2014.

Teachout faced off against incumbent Andrew Cuomo and comedian Randy Credico in the Democratic primary election on September 9, 2014. Teachout first ran for the Working Families Party nomination, but lost to Cuomo. His margin of victory was much smaller than expected, especially since the Working Families Party traditionally cross-endorses the Democratic Party candidate.[15]

Teachout then announced that she would run for the Democratic nomination.[16] Her running mate was Tim Wu, a Columbia University Law School professor who coined the phrase "net neutrality".[17][18][19] Their platform called for a rollback of Cuomo's tax cuts for the wealthy, investment in transportation and broadband infrastructure, a statewide fracking ban, an end to high-stakes testing and fair funding for schools in both under-resourced and affluent school districts, restoring voting rights to convicted felons, and support for the NY DREAM Act and anti-corruption measures, including public financing of elections to reduce the power of corporate donors and affluent political insiders.[3]

Their campaign raised $800,000, a small amount for New York state politics.[20] Four days before the primary, polls showed their likely voter share at 26%, in line with the predictions of political professionals.[21]

Teachout and Wu lost to Cuomo and his running mate, former U.S. Representative Kathy Hochul, in the primary on September 9, 2014, but did capture over 34% and 40% of the vote, respectively, with an especially strong showing in upstate New York.[22][23]

2016 U.S. House campaign[edit]

In March 2015, Teachout moved from Brooklyn to Dutchess County, New York.[24] Ten months later, she announced her candidacy in New York's 19th congressional district's June 2016 Democratic congressional primary.[25] Teachout ran to replace Republican Chris Gibson, who was retiring. In the June 28 primary, Teachout won the Democratic nomination. She was endorsed by Bernie Sanders,[26][27] U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand,[28] U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer,[29] New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the National Education Association,[30] New York State United Teachers,[31] National Nurses United,[32] the Communication Workers of America,[33] EMILY's List,[34] and the Sierra Club.[35] She lost to Republican John Faso in the November 8 general election by nine percentage points.[36] Teachout has argued that the $1 million that hedge-fund managers Paul Singer and Robert Mercer donated to a pro-Faso super PAC had an important role in her defeat.[37]

Post-House Campaign[edit]

In January 2017, Teachout joined the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's lawsuit against President Donald Trump, alleging violations of the Constitution's emoluments clause.[38][39]

Political views[edit]

Teachout was among the minority of Democratic congressional candidates who endorsed Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. She was also among the first candidates endorsed by Sanders.[40]

Teachout's platform for her House campaign included a higher minimum wage, increased spending on public infrastructure, a ban on fracking, an increase in manufacturing jobs,[41] property tax cuts,[42] increased investment in rural infrastructure,[42] an end to Common Core and high-stakes testing,[43][44] and campaign finance reform (specifically working to overturn Citizens United v. FEC).[37]

Personal life[edit]

Teachout is married to Nick Juliusburger, a software company executive. They live in Clinton, New York.[45]

Selected publications[edit]


  • Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United (Harvard University Press, September 2014)[46]
  • Mousepads, Shoe Leather and Hope: Lessons from the Howard Dean Campaign for the Future of Internet Politics (Paradigm Publishers, 2007; edited with T. Streeter)[47]



  1. ^ a b Teachout, Zephyr. "Zephyr Teachout on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved October 21, 2016. 
  2. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (May 6, 2015). "Zephyr Teachout Puts America's Corporate Elites On Notice". Huffington Post. 
  3. ^ a b Jaffe, Sarah (August 15, 2014). "How Zephyr Teachout Became a Contender". The Nation. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Orden, Erica (September 10, 2014). "Cuomo Fends Off N.Y. Democratic Gubernatorial Primary Challenge". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ Garcia, Eric (January 25, 2016). "Zephyr Teachout Announces Run for Congress in New York". Roll Call. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  6. ^ "New York U.S. House 19th District Results: John Faso Wins". Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  7. ^ a b Klopott, Freeman (August 5, 2014). "Cuomo Foe Teachout Finds Energy in Corruption Panel Mess". bloomberg.com. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d Hallenbeck, Terri (August 5, 2014). "Former Vermonter stirring up NY politics". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Zephyr Rain Teachout J.D. '99, A.M. '99, Accidental Internet Guru". Dukemagazine.duke.edu. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Zephyr Teachout biodata". Fordham University School of Law. Archived from the original on January 1, 1970. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  11. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (May 6, 2015). "Zephyr Teachout Puts America's Corporate Elites On Notice". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  12. ^ Mogulescu, Miles (September 11, 2014). "Run, Zephyr, Run — Teachout Should Challenge Hillary for the Democratic Presidential Nomination". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  13. ^ Murphy, Tim (April 21, 2016). "Bernie Sanders' Revolution Might Win in New York After All". Mother Jones. Retrieved November 3, 2016. 
  14. ^ Weigel, David. "The Left Flank: Progressives Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu are on a mission to push the New York governor's race to the left". Slate.com. Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Zephyr Teachout splits the W.F.P., and maybe Cuomo's base". capitalnewyork.com. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  16. ^ Jacob Fischler. "Exclusive: Progressive Ticket Will Challenge Andrew Cuomo And His Running Mate In New York Primary". buzzfeed.com. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  17. ^ Wu, Tim, "Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination", freepress.net, April 23, 2005.
  18. ^ "Tim Wu Elected Board Chair At Free Press". Columbia Law School. April 14, 2008. 
  19. ^ Bray, Hiawatha (December 21, 2010). "FCC passes New Neutrality Rule". Boston Globe. 
  20. ^ "Cuomo Spent Nearly 40 Times More Than Teachout To Win Primary". News.firedoglake.com. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  21. ^ "Pro-Teachout poll puts Cuomo challenger at 26%". MSNBC. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  22. ^ "New York State Primary Election Results". New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Zephyr Teachout's primary loss has air of a victory party". NY Daily News. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  24. ^ http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/For-Teachout-shades-of-2014-show-in-NY-19-8054056.php
  25. ^ McKinley, Jesse (January 25, 2016). "Zephyr Teachout Announces Bid for New York Congressional Seat". New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  26. ^ Reporter, Zach Carter Senior Political Economy; Post, The Huffington (2016-06-28). "Progressive Icon Zephyr Teachout Wins Democratic Primary In New York". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  27. ^ Am; Reporter, a Terkel Senior Political; Post, The Huffington (2016-06-28). "Bernie Sanders Gets Mixed Results With Progressive Candidates In New York Primaries". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  28. ^ "NY-19: Gillibrand Fundraises For Teachout". www.nystateofpolitics.com. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  29. ^ "Poll: Teachout and Faso Hold Strong Leads Ahead of New York Primary". Roll Call. 2016-06-27. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  30. ^ "NEA Fund - Recommended Candidates". www.neafund.org. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  31. ^ "NYSUT recommends early endorsements". www.nysut.org. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  32. ^ "NNU Endorsements". www.nationalnursesunited.org. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  33. ^ "In a double-header, CWA endorses Teachout, Niccoli". 2016-05-11. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  34. ^ "Zephyr Teachout". www.emilyslist.org. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  35. ^ "Sierra Club Endorses Teachout for Congress". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  36. ^ "New York U.S. House 19th district results: John Faso wins". The New York Times. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  37. ^ a b Kormann, Carolyn (November 10, 2016). "Zephyr Teachout's Loss and the Fight Against Dark Money". New Yorker. Retrieved November 13, 2016. 
  38. ^ Nelson, Libby. "The new lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of violating the Constitution, explained". Vox. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  39. ^ Teachout, Zephyr. "Why we're suing Donald Trump". CNN. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  40. ^ "Bernie Sanders to campaign for Zephyr Teachout in New Paltz on Friday". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  41. ^ "Zephyr Teachout, Will Yandik find a lot to agree on at Democratic congressional debate". Retrieved 2016-08-21. 
  42. ^ a b "Teachout touts plan to help independent businesses and small farms; Faso calls it 'naive and unrealistic'". Retrieved 2016-08-21. 
  43. ^ "Teachout, Yandik to face off in Democratic primary". Retrieved 2016-08-21. 
  44. ^ "Zephyr Teachout, Will Yandik find a lot to agree on at Democratic congressional debate". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  45. ^ "Zephyr Teachout gets married". riverreporteronline.com. August 31, 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  46. ^ Teachout, Zephyr (September 8, 2014). Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674050402. 
  47. ^ Teachout, Zephyr; Streeter, Thomas (September 2007). Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope: Lessons from the Howard Dean Campaign for the Future of Internet Politics. Paradigm Press. ISBN 978-1-59451-484-5. 

Further reading[edit]

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