NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. -- A judge ruled in favor of Democratic candidate for governor Zephyr Teachout Monday, clearing way for her to appear on the Sept. 9 primary ballot against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
To run for governor, the state constitution requires candidates to have lived in New York for at least five years prior to Election Day. A judge Monday ruled that Zephyr Teachout meets that requirement.
"What we had on our side was the truth. I've lived here since 2009. So, we spent a couple pf days testifying about every one of my apartments and people who would come over for dinner and activities I've been involved in here in New York. And the trial just showed that I am a New Yorker," Teachout said.
In a two-day hearing last week, the Cuomo campaign challenged Teachout's status as a New Yorker. At one point, Teachout even became emotional while talking about a friend she lived with who recently passed away.
According to the Cuomo campaign team, Teachout held a Vermont driver's license until just this year when she decided to run for governor. They also claimed she filed legal papers including tax returns that listed her mother's address in Vermont.
In a statement, former state Sen. Martin Connor, who represented Cuomo's campaign in court said, "As the judge noted in his decision, Ms. Teachout admitted under oath that she misrepresented her address on official and tax documents. Will Ms. Teachout be paying the taxes owed to the state of New York? We will be appealing today's decision."
Cuomo, himself, spoke publicly about the legal challenge for the first time on Saturday.
"We are a nation and a state of laws, right? So there are laws that need to be complied with. If they complied with the law then there will be a primary. One of the laws is to run in a New York race you have to be a New Yorker. That's sort of a common sense law," he said.
But in a 12-page ruling, Brooklyn Supreme Court judge Edgar Walker wrote that Teachout has clearly "lived" in New York as that term is commonly understood.
"I'm thrilled. We can get this court case behind us and actually engage in the real issues. And now, Andrew Cuomo has no more excuses. We have to have a debate," Teachout said.
Teachout and Cuomo's names will both be on the Democratic primary ballot on Sept. 9, as will comedian and activist Randy Credico. Meantime, the latest poll shows Cuomo continues to lead his Republican rival Rob Astorino by more than 30 percentage points.