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ALBANY -- Democrat Zephyr Teachout hit the campaign trail yesterday, beginning a four-day "Whistleblower Tour" of the state.
Meanwhile, her primary opponent, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, has been employing a classic "Rose Garden" re-election strategy, using the power of incumbency to promote his campaign.
Teachout, a Fordham University professor and liberal critic of Cuomo, is challenging the incumbent in a Sept. 9 Democrat primary. Teachout and her running mate, Columbia University professor Timothy Wu, said the tour will highlight the "cost of corruption in New York."
Cuomo's campaign declined comment.
Cuomo, with a huge lead in the polls over both Teachout and Republican candidate Rob Astorino, has announced in the last week the reopening of a fire house in the Adirondack Park, reviewed construction on an Adirondack highway, was on Long Island to promote the state beer and wine industry and later announced job growth figures for it, unveiled a fishing-tourism ad and announced $7 million in grants to state colleges.
At the same time, the governor has refused to engage with Teachout.
"You keep announcing things that are good for the future of New York and keep arm's distance from your opponents," Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff said of the governor's approach. "To go out and mix it up with unknown challengers doesn't do him any good."
Teachout and Wu kicked off the trip yesterday with a stop in front of Extell Development Co., a Manhattan firm that was the target of a subpoena from an anti-corruption panel known as the Moreland Commission. Cuomo shuttered the panel after state legislators passed ethics laws he favored, but a federal attorney now has taken over cases the commission launched. Teachout has criticized Cuomo's tax breaks for businesses.
Teachout also crossed into Pennsylvania to view a natural-gas drilling site -- she has called for a ban on a type of drilling -- and plans to hit the Southern Tier and Buffalo. In Buffalo, she reportedly was set to meet with teachers' union members.
One of Teachout's Friday events includes a stop at the Long Island Power Authority offices in Uniondale.
She's trying to get her name out with little time left in the race. A Quinnipiac University survey last week said 88 percent of registered New York voters didn't know enough about her to have an opinion of her.
Astorino, meanwhile, has continued a stream of campaign appearances. In the last week, he's been to Syracuse, Rochester, the Schoharie Valley and Hudson Valley.
Cuomo defeated Teachout in a fight for the labor-backed Working Families Party endorsement in May. Teachout then entered the Democratic primary and successfully defeated in court Cuomo's attempts to disqualify her from the ballot.