ALBANY, NY – On Monday, one of Tompkins County’s favorite would-be politicians, Zephyr Teachout, announced her bid for the House of Representatives.

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Teachout will be running for New York’s 19th congressional district, which covers a large swath of the Hudson Valley between Albany and New York City, stretching west into Broome County. She will be running for the seat currently occupied by Republican Chris Gibson, who will be retiring after this term.

In 2014, Teachout challenged Andrew Cuomo for the democratic primary for New York State Governor. Teachout proved popular in many counties, particularly Tompkins, where she took 70 percent of the vote.

Related: Gov. Cuomo wins NY primary; challenger Teachout takes Tompkins county

“Ithaca, from the very beginning, was a backbone of not only my campaign, but of an all-volunteer campaign,” Teachout said when visiting the city late in 2014.

Cuomo, the incumbent, won, but with only 63 percent against Teachout’s grassroots campaign. The New York Times called Teachout’s challenge “embarrassingly potent” considering that she had little money or name recognition going into the race.

Teachout is known for her aggressive activism against corruption in government. Last year, she was named CEO and Board chair for the US-based anti-corruption nonprofit Mayday PAC, which seeks to elect to congress people who will pass campaign finance reform.

She also wrote a book on the topic, Corruption in America.

“I think the house is on fire in terms of our democracy. I think we’re in terrible shape,” Teachout said when promoting the book in Ithaca.

Related: Notes from Zephyr Teachout’s talk at Buffalo St. Books

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.