ALBANY Supporters of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo returned to court Tuesday to continue their effort to knock law professor Zephyr Teachout off next month's Democratic Primary.
The challenge to Teachout's campaign is based on allegations that she doesn't meet the state Constitution's five-year residency requirement to run. After a lower court judge ruled in Teachout's favor; the ruling was appealed and a decision from a panel of appellate judges is expected later this week.
Teachout has said the challenge is a "frivolous" attempt by Cuomo's campaign to silence opposition to his re-election. The Fordham University law professor has emerged as a leading irritant to the governor, and her presence on the ballot threatens Cuomo's plan to win a second term by an overwhelming majority.
The two men behind the challenge — Harris Weiss and Austin Sternlicht — are listed online as Cuomo campaign interns. Their attorney, Martin Connor, argues that Teachout "retroactively" changed her residency to New York when she decided to challenge Cuomo. Teachout obtained a New York driver's license this spring.
Teachout says she has resided in New York since taking her job at Fordham in 2009, despite stints teaching at Harvard University and a fellowship in Washington. She said she has also visited family in Vermont.
Outside the Brooklyn courthouse, Teachout said Cuomo doesn't want to face opposition and repeated her call for a debate.
"Andrew Cuomo is avoiding a debate and trying to avoid a Democratic primary," she said.
The primary is Sept. 9. A Cuomo campaign spokesman said Tuesday there are no current plans for a debate in the race.
The ballot will include a third Democrat, comedian and drug law critic Randy Credico.
Other contenders in the governor's race include Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.