Zephyr Teachout

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Zephyr Teachout
Zephyr Teachout 2014 Pride March.jpg
Personal details
Born (1971-10-24) October 24, 1971 (age 47)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Nicholas Juliusburger
EducationYale University (BA)
Duke University (MA, JD)

Zephyr Rain Teachout (/ˈtt/, born October 24, 1971)[1] is an American attorney, author, and Associate Professor of Law at Fordham University.[2] She was a candidate for attorney general of New York in the 2018 election[3] and her candidacy was endorsed by The New York Times.[4]

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.[5]

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 United States House of Representatives in New York's 19th congressional district.[6] Teachout won the Democratic primary before losing to Republican John Faso in the November 2016 general election.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Teachout was born in Seattle, Washington, the second of five children, to Peter Teachout, a constitutional law professor at Vermont Law School, and Mary Miles Teachout, a state court judge.[8][9] Her father served in the United States Army as a lieutenant during the Vietnam War and has a law degree from Harvard Law School.[10] At the time of her birth, the family was living in Seattle, where her father was a professor at the University of Washington.[11]

She was raised on a farm outside Norwich, Vermont.[8][10] She attended Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she was a champion cross-country runner.[10]

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 J.D., summa cum laude, and a Master of Arts in political science.[12] After earning her law degree, Teachout clerked for Chief Judge Edward Roy Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.[13]


Teachout is a professor at Fordham Law School. She was formerly a visiting professor of law at Duke University and a lecturer at the University of Vermont.[13] She served as the Director of Internet Organizing for the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign. In 2009 she helped found the Antitrust League.[14] She was the first national director of the Sunlight Foundation, which promotes transparency and accountability in government.[15]

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.[16][17][2]

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.[18][19]

As of May 2018 Teachout 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.[20] In October 2018 she was appointed to the editorial board of the The Nation.[21]

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.[22]

Teachout then announced that she would run for the Democratic nomination.[23] Her running mate was Tim Wu, a Columbia University Law School professor who coined the phrase "net neutrality".[24][25][26] 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.[27] Four days before the primary, polls showed their likely voter share at 26%, in line with the predictions of political professionals.[28]

Teachout and Wu lost to Cuomo and his running mate, former U.S. Representative Kathy Hochul, in the primary on September 9, 2014, but won over 34% and 40% of the vote, respectively, with an especially strong showing in upstate New York.[29]

2016 U.S. House campaign[edit]

In March 2015 Teachout moved from Brooklyn to Dutchess County, New York.[30] Ten months later she announced her candidacy in New York's 19th congressional district's 2016 Democratic congressional primary.[31] Teachout ran to replace Republican Chris Gibson, who was retiring. In the June 28 primary Teachout won the nomination. She was endorsed by Bernie Sanders,[32][33] U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand,[34] U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer,[35] New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the National Education Association,[36] New York State United Teachers,[37] National Nurses United,[38] the Communication Workers of America,[39] EMILY's List,[40] and the Sierra Club.[41] She lost to Republican John Faso in the November 8 general election by nine percentage points.[42]

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.[43][44] At the time Teachout was pregnant, expecting a child in October, one month after the primary and one month before the general election.[45] On August 19, 2018, The New York Times endorsed Teachout for state attorney general.[4][46] 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.

On September 13 Teachout lost the Democratic primary for Attorney General to Letitia James, receiving 31% of the vote to James's 40.6%.[47]

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 Sanders endorsed.[48] Sanders subsequently endorsed her for attorney general of New York in 2018.[49]

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,[50] property tax cuts,[51] increased investment in rural infrastructure,[51] an end to Common Core and high-stakes testing,[52][53] and campaign finance reform (specifically working to overturn Citizens United v. FEC).[54]

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.[55][56]

Personal life[edit]

Teachout is married to Nicholas S. Juliusburger, a software company executive. They live in Clinton, New York.[57][58]

Teachout and Juliusburger were expecting their first child in October 2018, and Teachout used footage of her receiving an ultrasound in a campaign advertisement.[59][60][61][62]

Selected publications[edit]


  • Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United (Harvard University Press, September 2014)[63]
  • Mousepads, Shoe Leather and Hope: Lessons from the Howard Dean Campaign for the Future of Internet Politics (Paradigm Publishers, 2007; edited with T. Streeter)[64]


  • "The Anti-Corruption Principle" (PDF). Cornell Law Review. 94: 341–413. 2009.
  • "The Unenforceable Corrupt Contract: Corruption and 19th Century Contract Law". NYU Review of Law and Social Change. 35. 2011.


  1. ^ Teachout, Zephyr. "Zephyr Teachout on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Jaffe, Sarah (August 15, 2014). "How Zephyr Teachout Became a Contender". The Nation. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  3. ^ City & State New York. "The Race for Attorney General Takes Shape". Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  4. ^ a b New York Times. "Zephyr Teachout Is the Right Choice as Attorney General for Democrats". Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  5. ^ Orden, Erica (September 10, 2014). "Cuomo Fends Off N.Y. Democratic Gubernatorial Primary Challenge". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  6. ^ Garcia, Eric (January 25, 2016). "Zephyr Teachout Announces Run for Congress in New York". Roll Call. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  7. ^ "New York U.S. House 19th District Results: John Faso Wins". Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  8. ^ a b Klopott, Freeman (August 5, 2014). "Cuomo Foe Teachout Finds Energy in Corruption Panel Mess". bloomberg.com. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  9. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (May 6, 2015). "Zephyr Teachout Puts America's Corporate Elites On Notice". Huffington Post.
  10. ^ a b c Hallenbeck, Terri (August 5, 2014). "Former Vermonter stirring up NY politics". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "Peter Teachout". Vermont Law School. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  12. ^ "Zephyr Rain Teachout J.D. '99, A.M. '99, Accidental Internet Guru". Dukemagazine.duke.edu. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Zephyr Teachout biodata". Fordham University School of Law. Archived from the original on December 9, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  14. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (May 6, 2015). "Zephyr Teachout Puts America's Corporate Elites On Notice". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  15. ^ Mogulescu, Miles (September 11, 2014). "Run, Zephyr, Run — Teachout Should Challenge Hillary for the Democratic Presidential Nomination". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  16. ^ Murphy, Tim (April 21, 2016). "Bernie Sanders' Revolution Might Win in New York After All". Mother Jones. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Nelson, Libby. "The new lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of violating the Constitution, explained". Vox. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  19. ^ Teachout, Zephyr. "Why we're suing Donald Trump". CNN. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  20. ^ "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  21. ^ "'The Nation' Appoints Anti-Corruption Powerhouse Zephyr Teachout to Its Editorial Board". thenation.com (Press release). October 18, 2018. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  22. ^ "Zephyr Teachout splits the W.F.P., and maybe Cuomo's base". capitalnewyork.com. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  23. ^ Jacob Fischler. "Exclusive: Progressive Ticket Will Challenge Andrew Cuomo And His Running Mate In New York Primary". buzzfeed.com. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  24. ^ Wu, Tim, "Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination", freepress.net, April 23, 2005.
  25. ^ "Tim Wu Elected Board Chair At Free Press". Columbia Law School. April 14, 2008.
  26. ^ Bray, Hiawatha (December 21, 2010). "FCC passes New Neutrality Rule". Boston Globe.
  27. ^ "Cuomo Spent Nearly 40 Times More Than Teachout To Win Primary". News.firedoglake.com. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  28. ^ "Pro-Teachout poll puts Cuomo challenger at 26%". MSNBC. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  29. ^ "Zephyr Teachout's primary loss has air of a victory party". NY Daily News. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  30. ^ "For Teachout, shades of 2014 show in NY-19 campaign".
  31. ^ McKinley, Jesse (January 25, 2016). "Zephyr Teachout Announces Bid for New York Congressional Seat". New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ "NY-19: Gillibrand Fundraises For Teachout". www.nystateofpolitics.com. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  35. ^ "Poll: Teachout and Faso Hold Strong Leads Ahead of New York Primary". Roll Call. 2016-06-27. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  36. ^ "NEA Fund - Recommended Candidates". www.neafund.org. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  37. ^ "NYSUT recommends early endorsements". www.nysut.org. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  38. ^ "NNU Endorsements". www.nationalnursesunited.org. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  39. ^ "In a double-header, CWA endorses Teachout, Niccoli". 2016-05-11. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  40. ^ "Zephyr Teachout". emilyslist.org. Archived from the original on 2016-08-21. Retrieved 2016-08-20.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  41. ^ "Sierra Club Endorses Teachout for Congress". Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  42. ^ "New York U.S. House 19th district results: John Faso wins". The New York Times. December 13, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  43. ^ New York Post. "Zephyr Teachout ditching Nixon campaign to run for state AG". Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  44. ^ The Cut. "Zephyr Teachout Is Running for Attorney General of New York". Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  45. ^ "Zephyr Teachout Wants To Be New York's Top Lawyer. She's Also Pregnant. But Don't Let That Overshadow Her Campaign". Time. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  46. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/superwuster/status/1031354273542676480. The NYT endorsement article is easily available, but behind a paywall.
  47. ^ "Letitia James Makes History by Winning Attorney General Primary in New York". Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  48. ^ "Bernie Sanders to campaign for Zephyr Teachout in New Paltz on Friday". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  49. ^ Blumberg, Antonia (10 September 2018). "Bernie Sanders Endorses Zephyr Teachout For New York Attorney General". Huffington Post. Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  50. ^ "Zephyr Teachout, Will Yandik find a lot to agree on at Democratic congressional debate". Retrieved 2016-08-21.
  51. ^ a b "Teachout touts plan to help independent businesses and small farms; Faso calls it 'naive and unrealistic'". Retrieved 2016-08-21.
  52. ^ "Teachout, Yandik to face off in Democratic primary". Retrieved 2016-08-21.
  53. ^ "Zephyr Teachout, Will Yandik find a lot to agree on at Democratic congressional debate". Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  54. ^ Kormann, Carolyn (November 10, 2016). "Zephyr Teachout's Loss and the Fight Against Dark Money". New Yorker. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  55. ^ Korte, Lara (2018-06-06). "Teachout Has Trump on Her Mind as She Makes Run for Attorney General". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-06-06.
  56. ^ Freedlander, David (17 August 2018). "The Woman Behind the New York Campaign to Take Down Trump". Politico. Politico. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  57. ^ "Zephyr Teachout gets married". riverreporteronline.com. August 31, 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  58. ^ "Zephyr Teachout Tax Returns".
  59. ^ Hartmann, Margaret. "Zephyr Teachout Gets an Ultrasound in Her Latest Campaign Ad". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  60. ^ "Zephyr Teachout Wants To Be New York's Top Lawyer. She's Also Pregnant. But Don't Let That Overshadow Her Campaign". Time. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  61. ^ Paiella, Gabriella. "Zephyr Teachout Is Running for Attorney General While Pregnant". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  62. ^ "Zephyr Teachout, AG candidate, expecting first child". 27 May 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  63. ^ Teachout, Zephyr (September 8, 2014). Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674050402.
  64. ^ 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]

External links[edit]