Zephyr Teachout

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Zephyr Teachout
Woman with short brown hair and green sleeveless dress smiling into camera with United States flag in left background
Teachout at a 2014 Pride March
Zephyr Rain Teachout

(1971-10-24) October 24, 1971 (age 52)
Occupation(s)Attorney, law professor
Years active1999–present
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseNicholas Juliusburger

Zephyr Rain Teachout (/ˈtt/, born October 24, 1971)[1] is an American attorney, author, political candidate, and professor of law at Fordham University.[2]

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.[3] In 2016, Teachout was a candidate for the United States House of Representatives in New York's 19th congressional district.[4] Teachout won the Democratic primary before losing to Republican John Faso.[5] In 2018, Teachout was a candidate for New York State attorney general in the 2018 elections but lost the Democratic nomination to Letitia James.[6] Her candidacy was endorsed by The New York Times.[7]

On November 15, 2021, Teachout again announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for New York State attorney general,[8] but suspended her campaign after the incumbent, James, who had been running for governor, instead ran for reelection. Teachout endorsed James when she announced the suspension of her campaign.[9]

On January 24, 2022, the New York State attorney general's office appointed Teachout as a special advisor and senior counsel for economic justice.[10]

Early life and education[edit]

Teachout was born in Seattle, Washington, the second of five children, to Peter Teachout and Mary Miles Teachout. Peter, who served in the United States Army as a lieutenant during the Vietnam War and has a law degree from Harvard Law School,[11] was a professor at the University of Washington at the time.[12] The family relocated to Vermont, where Peter became a constitutional law professor at Vermont Law School, and Mary has served as a trial judge and founded the Vermont Law Review.[13]

Raised on a farm outside Norwich, Vermont,[11][14][15] Teachout attended Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she was a champion cross-country runner[11] and acted in school plays.[16]

In 1993, Teachout received a B.A. degree from Yale University. In 1999, she earned two simultaneous degrees from Duke University: a Juris Doctor, summa cum laude, and a Master of Arts degree in political science.[17] She was also editor-in-chief of the Duke Law Journal.[18]


After graduating from law school, Teachout clerked for Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.[18] She served as the director of Internet organizing for the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign. In 2009 she helped found the Antitrust League.[13] She was the first national director of the Sunlight Foundation, which promotes transparency and accountability in government.[19]

She has been a professor at Fordham Law School since 2009.[20] She was a visiting professor of law at Duke University in 2007[21] and a lecturer at the University of Vermont.[18]


Teachout is also an actor who has performed in many plays at the Unadilla Theatre in Marshfield, Vermont, directed by Bill Blachly,[16][22] appearing as Katherine in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost in 1994 and as Imogen in Shakespeare's Cymbeline in 1995. She played Winnie in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days in 2012 and 2019.[16] In 2013, Teachout was Lady Utterwood in George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House.[23] In 2019, she played Anne in Florian Zeller's 2012 play The Father.[24][25]

Public affairs[edit]

In August 2015, Teachout became CEO and board chair of the campaign finance reform–oriented organization Mayday PAC, replacing Lawrence Lessig. She stepped down from this position in December 2015 to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in New York's 19th congressional district.[4]

Teachout volunteered at Occupy Wall Street, where she encouraged the movement to focus on the importance of decentralized power, citing the ideas of James Madison, and worked to educate activists in corporate law and policy.[2][26][27]

In January 2017, Teachout joined the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's lawsuit against President Trump, alleging violations of the Constitution's emoluments clause.[28][29]

As of May 2018, she served on the board of advisors of Let America Vote, an organization founded by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander that aims to end voter suppression.[30] In October of that year she was appointed to the editorial board of The Nation.[31]

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. In July 2014, the Board of Elections received objections from Harris Weiss and Austin Sternlicht challenging Teachout's New York residency.[32] She 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.[33]

Teachout then announced that she would run for the Democratic nomination.[34] Her running mate was Tim Wu, a Columbia University Law School professor who coined the phrase "net neutrality".[35][36][37] 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.[2]

Their campaign raised $800,000, a small amount for New York state politics.[38] Four days before the primary, polls showed their likely voter share at 26%, in line with the predictions of political professionals.[39]

Teachout and Wu lost to Cuomo and his running mate, former U.S. Representative Kathy Hochul, in the primary on September 9, 2014. Although Teachout was only expected to receive 26% of the vote (based on polling days before the election), she received 33%.

2016 U.S. House campaign[edit]

In March 2015, Teachout moved from Brooklyn to Dutchess County, New York.[40] Ten months later she announced her candidacy in New York's 19th congressional district's 2016 Democratic congressional primary.[41] She ran to replace Republican Chris Gibson, who was retiring. In the June 28 primary Teachout won the nomination. She was endorsed by U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders,[42][43] Kirsten Gillibrand,[44] and Chuck Schumer,[45] New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the National Education Association,[46] New York State United Teachers,[47] National Nurses United,[48] the Communication Workers of America,[49] EMILY's List,[50] and the Sierra Club.[51] She lost to Republican John Faso in the November 8 general election by nine percentage points.[52]

2018 Attorney General campaign[edit]

Teachout served as treasurer for Cynthia Nixon's campaign for governor of New York until May 2018, when she announced she was running for attorney general of New York in the 2018 election.[53] At the time Teachout was pregnant, expecting a child in October, one month after the primary and one month before the general election.[54] On August 19, 2018, The New York Times endorsed Teachout for state attorney general. Its editorial board members argued that she would be the ideal candidate to hold both President Trump as well as the state government to account.[7]

On September 13, 2018, Teachout lost the Democratic primary for attorney general to Letitia James, receiving 31% of the vote to James's 40.6%.[55]

2022 Attorney General campaign[edit]

On October 29, 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced her candidacy for governor in 2022. Teachout had previously announced that if James ran for governor, she would run again for attorney general in the Democratic primary.[56] On November 15, Teachout announced her candidacy on her Twitter account and at a press conference in Downtown Brooklyn. Her campaign was supported by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig.[57] James ended her campaign for governor, and decided to run for reelection for New York Attorney General; on December 12 Teachout suspended her campaign for attorney general and endorsed James.

Senior counsel for economic justice[edit]

On January 24, 2022, the New York State attorney general's office appointed Teachout as a special advisor and senior counsel for economic justice.[10] In a tweet, she wrote that she would take a leave of absence from her position at Fordham Law School.

Political views[edit]

Teachout was among the minority of Democratic congressional candidates who endorsed Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries. She was also among the first candidates Sanders endorsed.[58] He subsequently endorsed her for attorney general of New York in 2018,[59] and Teachout endorsed him in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.[60] In a January 2020 opinion column in The Guardian, Teachout wrote that Sanders's Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden had "a big corruption problem" arising from his relationships with donors over the course of his Senate career. Sanders apologized to Biden for the article, saying: "It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way."[61][62][63]

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,[64] property tax cuts,[65] increased investment in rural infrastructure,[65] an end to Common Core and high-stakes testing,[66][67] and campaign finance reform (specifically working to overturn Citizens United v. FEC).[68]

While running for Attorney General of New York, Teachout pledged that she would use the power of the office to sue Trump for violating anti-corruption laws and to force him to divest from his businesses.[69][70]

Electoral history[edit]

2014 New York gubernatorial Democratic primary[71]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Andrew Cuomo (incumbent) 361,380 62.92%
Democratic Zephyr Teachout 192,210 33.47%
Democratic Randy Credico 20,760 3.61%
Total votes 574,350 100.00%
2016 New York's 19th Congressional District Democratic primary[72]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Zephyr Teachout 13,801 71.3%
Democratic Will Yandik 5,561 28.7%
Total votes 19,362 100.00%
2016 New York's 19th Congressional District general election[73]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Faso 134,825 44.4%
Conservative John Faso 21,156 7.0%
Independence John Faso 7,943 2.6%
Reform John Faso 876 0.3%
Total John Faso 164,800 54.3%
Democratic Zephyr Teachout 123,733 40.7%
Working Families Zephyr Teachout 15,067 5.0%
Total Zephyr Teachout 138,800 45.7%
Total votes 303,600 100.00%
Republican hold
2018 New York Attorney General Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Letitia James 608,308 38.53%
Democratic Zephyr Teachout 468,083 29.65%
Democratic Sean Patrick Maloney 379,099 24.02%
Democratic Leecia Eve 52,367 3.32%
Total votes 1,578,588 100.00%

Personal life and family[edit]

Teachout is married to Nicholas S. Juliusburger, a software company executive. They live in East Harlem, Manhattan.[74]

In October 2018, Teachout and Juliusburger were expecting their first child. Teachout used footage of her receiving an ultrasound in a campaign advertisement.[75][76][53][77]

In 2020, Teachout enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at Union Theological Seminary.[78][79] For her field education, she served at Saint Luke's Lutheran Church.[80]

Selected works and publications[edit]


  • Teachout, Zephyr; Streeter, Thomas, eds. (2007). Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope: Lessons from the Howard Dean Campaign for the Future of Internet Politics. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers. ISBN 9781594514845. OCLC 1100703254.
  • Teachout, Zephyr (2014). Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674050402. OCLC 900727926.
  • Teachout, Zephyr (2020). Break 'Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money. New York: All Points Book/St. Martin's Publishing Group. ISBN 9781250200891. OCLC 1112261337.

Selected articles[edit]


  1. ^ Teachout, Zephyr [@ZephyrTeachout] (October 21, 2016). "Contrary to wikipedia, it is not my birthday today. But thanks for all the wishes! I turn 45 on the 24th. A few more days of 44" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b c Jaffe, Sarah (August 15, 2014). "How Zephyr Teachout Became a Contender". The Nation. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  3. ^ Orden, Erica (September 10, 2014). "Cuomo Fends Off N.Y. Democratic Gubernatorial Primary Challenge". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Garcia, Eric (January 25, 2016). "Zephyr Teachout Announces Run for Congress in New York". Roll Call.
  5. ^ "New York U.S. House 19th District Results: John Faso Wins". The New York Times. August 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Segers, Grace (June 6, 2018). "Updated: The race for attorney general takes shape". City & State. Archived from the original on May 25, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Opinion: The New York Times Endorses Zephyr Teachout for Attorney General in Thursday's Primary". The Editorial Board. The New York Times. August 19, 2018.
  8. ^ Schnell, Michayel (November 16, 2021). "Zephyr Teachout running for New York AG". The Hill.
  9. ^ "Zephyr Teachout exits race for New York attorney general". nydailynews.com. Associated Press. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Reisman, Nick (January 24, 2022). "Zephyr Teachout joins New York AG James' office". Spectrum News. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  11. ^ a b c Hallenbeck, Terri (August 5, 2014). "Former Vermonter stirring up NY politics". Burlington Free Press.
  12. ^ "Faculty: Peter Teachout, Professor of Law". Vermont Law School. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  13. ^ a b Blumenthal, Paul (May 6, 2015). "Zephyr Teachout Puts America's Corporate Elites On Notice". Huffington Post.
  14. ^ Klopott, Freeman (August 5, 2014). "Cuomo Foe Teachout Finds Energy in Corruption Panel Mess". Bloomberg News.
  15. ^ Lowe, Jim. "Theater Review 'Downton' exposed in Unadilla production". Rutland Herald. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  16. ^ a b c Pollak, Sally. "Happy Days Are Here Again at Unadilla Theatre". Seven Days. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  17. ^ Brown, Malina (November 30, 2007). "Zephyr Rain Teachout J.D. '99, A.M. '99, Accidental Internet Guru". Duke Magazine. Duke University. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  18. ^ a b c "Zephyr Teachout, Associate Professor of Law". Fordham University School of Law. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  19. ^ Mogulescu, Miles (September 11, 2014). "Run, Zephyr, Run — Teachout Should Challenge Hillary for the Democratic Presidential Nomination". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  20. ^ "Zephyr Teachout". www.fordham.edu.
  21. ^ "Faculty Lives in Public Service: Zephyr Teachout '99". Duke University School of Law.
  22. ^ "Vermont Theatre Festival – Unadilla Theatre and Festival Theatre – Incorporated 1979". Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  23. ^ Lowe, Jim. "Theater Review 'Downton' exposed in Unadilla production". Rutland Herald. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  24. ^ Esckilsen, Erik. "Theater Review: 'The Father,' Unadilla Theatre". Seven Days. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  25. ^ Lowe, Jim. "Theater Review: 'The Father' delivers dementia, up close and personal". Times Argus. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  26. ^ Murphy, Tim (April 21, 2016). "Bernie Sanders' Revolution Might Win in New York After All". Mother Jones. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  27. ^ Weigel, David (July 18, 2014). "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. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  28. ^ Nelson, Libby (January 24, 2017). "The new lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of violating the Constitution, explained". Vox. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  29. ^ Teachout, Zephyr (January 25, 2017). "Why We're Suing Donald Trump". CNN. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  30. ^ "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  31. ^ "'The Nation' Appoints Anti-Corruption Powerhouse Zephyr Teachout to Its Editorial Board". The Nation (Press release). October 18, 2018. Archived from the original on November 12, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  32. ^ Lovett, Ken (July 21, 2014). "Objections filed to Zephyr Teachout's petitions to challenge Gov. Cuomo in Democratic primary". Daily News.
  33. ^ "Zephyr Teachout splits the W.F.P., and maybe Cuomo's base". capitalnewyork.com. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  34. ^ Fischler, Jacob (June 13, 2014). "Exclusive: Progressive Ticket Will Challenge Andrew Cuomo And His Running Mate In New York Primary". buzzfeed.com. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  35. ^ Wu, Tim (April 23, 2005). "Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination" (PDF). freepress.net. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 6, 2012.
  36. ^ "Tim Wu Elected Board Chair At Free Press". Columbia Law School. April 14, 2008. Archived from the original on May 10, 2016. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  37. ^ Bray, Hiawatha (December 21, 2010). "FCC passes New Neutrality Rule". Boston Globe.
  38. ^ Hamsher, Jane (September 10, 2014). "Cuomo Spent Nearly 40 Times More Than Teachout To Win Primary". Firedoglake. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  39. ^ "Pro-Teachout poll puts Cuomo challenger at 26%". MSNBC. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  40. ^ Hamilton, Matthew (June 11, 2016). "For Teachout, shades of 2014 show in NY-19 campaign". Times Union.
  41. ^ McKinley, Jesse (January 25, 2016). "Zephyr Teachout Announces Bid for New York Congressional Seat". New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  42. ^ Carter, Zach (June 28, 2016). "Progressive Icon Zephyr Teachout Wins Democratic Primary In New York". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  43. ^ Terkel, Amanda (June 28, 2016). "Bernie Sanders Gets Mixed Results With Progressive Candidates In New York Primaries". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  44. ^ "NY-19: Gillibrand Fundraises For Teachout". www.nystateofpolitics.com. Archived from the original on August 13, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  45. ^ Pathé, Simone (June 27, 2016). "Poll: Teachout and Faso Hold Strong Leads Ahead of New York Primary". Roll Call. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  46. ^ "NEA Fund - Recommended Candidates". www.neafund.org. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  47. ^ "NYSUT recommends early endorsements". www.nysut.org. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  48. ^ "NNU Endorsements". www.nationalnursesunited.org. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  49. ^ "In a double-header, CWA endorses Teachout, Niccoli". May 11, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  50. ^ "Zephyr Teachout". emilyslist.org. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  51. ^ "Sierra Club Endorses Teachout for Congress". Archived from the original on October 29, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  52. ^ "New York U.S. House 19th district results: John Faso wins". The New York Times. December 13, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  53. ^ a b Paiella, Gabriella (May 23, 2018). "Zephyr Teachout Is Running for Attorney General of New York". thecut.com. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  54. ^ Abramson, Alana (August 16, 2018). "Zephyr Teachout Wants To Be New York's Top Lawyer. She's Also Pregnant. But Don't Let That Overshadow Her Campaign". Time. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  55. ^ Mays, Jeffery C. (September 14, 2018). "Letitia James Makes History by Winning Attorney General Primary in New York". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  56. ^ Reisman, Nick (October 2, 2021). "Teachout plans AG campaign if James runs for governor". Spectrum News 1.
  57. ^ Bergin, Brigid (November 15, 2021). "Teachout Launches State AG Bid Centering Women's Health And Progressive Support". Gothamist.
  58. ^ "Bernie Sanders to campaign for Zephyr Teachout in New Paltz on Friday". Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  59. ^ Blumberg, Antonia (September 10, 2018). "Bernie Sanders Endorses Zephyr Teachout For New York Attorney General". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  60. ^ Marans, Daniel (December 27, 2019). "Zephyr Teachout, Anti-Corruption Crusader, Endorses Bernie Sanders". HuffPost. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  61. ^ Teachout, Zephyr (January 20, 2020). "'Middle Class' Joe Biden has a corruption problem – it makes him a weak candidate | Zephyr Teachout". The Guardian – via www.theguardian.com.
  62. ^ Stracqualursi, Veronica (January 21, 2020). "Sanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's attack op-ed". CNN.
  63. ^ Victor, Daniel (January 21, 2020). "Sanders Apologizes to Biden for Surrogate's Critique". The New York Times.
  64. ^ "Zephyr Teachout, Will Yandik find a lot to agree on at Democratic congressional debate". June 7, 2016. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  65. ^ a b "Teachout touts plan to help independent businesses and small farms; Faso calls it 'naive and unrealistic'". August 4, 2016. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  66. ^ "Teachout, Yandik to face off in Democratic primary". Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  67. ^ "Zephyr Teachout, Will Yandik find a lot to agree on at Democratic congressional debate". June 7, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  68. ^ Kormann, Carolyn (November 10, 2016). "Zephyr Teachout's Loss and the Fight Against Dark Money". New Yorker. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  69. ^ Korte, Lara (June 6, 2018). "Teachout Has Trump on Her Mind as She Makes Run for Attorney General". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  70. ^ Freedlander, David (August 17, 2018). "The Woman Behind the New York Campaign to Take Down Trump". Politico. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  71. ^ "2014 State Local Primary Results" (PDF). New York State Board Of Elections. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  72. ^ "June 28, 2016 Primary Election Congressional Primary Results" (PDF). New York Board of Elections. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  73. ^ "New York State Official Election Night Results" (PDF). New York Board of Elections. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  74. ^ "Zephyr Teachout gets married". riverreporteronline.com. August 31, 2016. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  75. ^ Hartmann, Margaret (September 11, 2018). "Zephyr Teachout Gets an Ultrasound in Her Latest Campaign Ad". Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  76. ^ "Zephyr Teachout Wants To Be New York's Top Lawyer. She's Also Pregnant. But Don't Let That Overshadow Her Campaign". Time. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  77. ^ "Zephyr Teachout, AG candidate, expecting first child". May 27, 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  78. ^ "Just Conversations with Kelly Brown Douglas: Zephyr Teachout". Union Theological Seminary.
  79. ^ "Just Conversations with Kelly Brown Douglas: Zephyr Teachout". Union Theological Seminary.
  80. ^ Zephyr Teachout. "We demand God's great love even as we betray each other". Saint Luke's Lutheran Church.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]