Cuomo backers in court to fight Teachout campaign

Challengers claim law professor Zephyr Teachout hasn't met

Challengers claim law professor Zephyr Teachout hasn't met the five-year residency requirement.

ALBANY, N.Y. - (AP) -- Supporters of Gov. Andrew Cuomo are set to return to court Tuesday to continue their effort to knock Zephyr Teachout off next month's primary ballot.

The challenge to Teachout's campaign failed in trial court last week after a judge ruled that the Fordham University law professor met the state's five-year residency requirement to run. The matter now heads to appellate court in Brooklyn. A decision is expected later this week.

Two Cuomo supporters -- Harris Weiss and Austin Sternlicht -- allege in the challenge that Teachout retroactively changed her residency to New York state when she decided to run for governor, and note that she obtained a New York driver's license this year. Weiss and Sternlicht are listed online as interns at Cuomo's re-election campaign.

Teachout's campaign threatens to embarrass Cuomo's plans for an easy re-election by highlighting concerns from some left-leaning Democrats that he has strayed from Democratic principles by supporting business-friendly tax cuts and charter schools.

Teachout says she has resided in New York since taking her job at Fordham in 2009. She has said she spends time during the summers in Vermont, where she was raised and where her family lives. She says Cuomo's campaign is mounting a frivolous challenge to eliminate political opposition.

Her attorney, Lawrence Mandelker, said he is confident that the appellate court will not overturn the lower court's ruling.

Martin Connor, an attorney representing Weiss and Sternlicht, did not return messages seeking comment.

The primary is Sept. 9.

The Democratic primary ballot will include a third candidate, 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.

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