Congressional Candidate: Voters Are Not Dumb

By John Celock

A Democratic congressional candidate in a competitive upstate New York race is using a new campaign ad to tell voters that she thinks they are smart.

Zephyr Teachout, who is running for an open seat in the Hudson Valley, started off the commercial saying that 30 seconds was not enough time to explain full positions. But she said many politicians don’t cover full positions because they don’t believe voters are smart.

“You know how much political ads don’t say anything, well 30 seconds isn’t enough time. But also a lot of politicians don’t think you are very smart,” Teachout said. “I am Zephyr Teachout and I think you are. That is why I am running for Congress as an economic patriot.”

Teachout used the remainder of the commercial to invite voters to her website to view videos outlining her platform. Among the videos on her website are ones covering climate change, infrastructure, agriculture, campaign finance reform, water, the economy, equal pay, the Hudson River and Lyme Disease.

Teachout is running against Republican John Faso, a former state Assembly minority leader, for the seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson (R).

Teachout, a law professor, rocketed to political fame in New York with her 2014 Democratic primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) from the progressive wing of the party. Teachout, who lacked the name recognition and financial resources of Cuomo, captured 35 percent of the vote and won counties across upstate New York in the race. Teachout’s strong upstate showing is credited in part to her opposition to fracking and her stressing of her rural background as a Vermont native.

The race between Faso and Teachout is considered one of the most competitive in the Empire State, with the district containing swing areas between Westchester County and the Albany region. Both candidates have previously run for governor, with Faso garnering 29 percent as the Republican nominee in 2006 against Democrat Eliot Spitzer. Faso also unsuccessfully sought the state comptroller’s office in 2002.

Faso released a fundraising email Tuesday attacking Teachout for relocating to the district from New York City in 2015 prior to the congressional race and for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. He also highlighted Teachout’s support from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and others in the progressive community nationally. Teachout, who resided in Brooklyn during her gubernatorial campaign, has stressed her time spent in the district during her gubernatorial campaign and rural roots as part of her desire to seek the Hudson Valley seat.

Teachout, who filmed the ad in front of a 30 second countdown clock, closed by reminding voters of the intelligence issue.

“I approve this message because most campaigns treat you like you’re dumb, I never will,’ she said.