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Cuomo campaign loses appeal as court upholds Teachout residency ruling

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks to the media

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks to the media on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. Credit: Bryan Smith

A state appellate court Wednesday upheld a lower court's decision allowing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout to remain on next month's primary ballot against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The court unanimously rejected an appeal brought forward this week by Cuomo campaign attorney Martin E. Connor, who argued Teachout, a Fordham University law professor, failed to meet the state's five-year residency requirement, citing past tax filings and other documents where she listed a Vermont address.

In a written decision, the court's panel of four judges said although Teachout "has resided in several different residences within the City of New York since 2009, while maintaining close connections to her childhood domicile of Vermont, that is nothing more than an ambiguity in the residency calculus."

A Cuomo campaign spokesman said the campaign would not appeal the decision issued by appellate Judges Peter B. Skelos, Ruth C. Balkin, Plummer E. Lott and Hector D. LaSalle.

Teachout said the court's unanimous decision came as "no surprise."

"With this frivolous lawsuit behind us, I'm hopeful the Governor will now agree to debate," Teachout said in a statement. "We have very different visions for where we want to take the state. I want a New York with a small business economy and democracy that works for all us. Democratic Primary voters deserve a choice."

Teachout and lieutenant governor running mate Tim Wu continue to press Cuomo for a debate as they wage their uphill battle for name recognition.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found 88 percent of voters didn't know Teachout or didn't know enough about her to have an opinion.

"I think she will get enough votes to embarrass him," said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the poll. "It's not going to upset the election, but it could embarrass him, and I think it will."

Carroll said there is a common anti-incumbent vote with which Cuomo will have to contend, along with some liberals supporting Teachout.

Still, the poll continues to show strong support for Cuomo's bid for a second term.

With Michael Gormley

State & Region