GHENT—Kinderhook resident John Faso, a Republican, will face Democrat Zephyr Teachout of Dover Plains in Dutchess County as the major party candidates in the race to represent the 19th District in Congress. Both candidate’s won their parties’ primary elections Tuesday by commanding margins.
Mr. Faso, a lawyer and former GOP candidate for governor, beat Millbrook businessman Andrew Heaney despite an error by elections officials that saw some polling places receive outdated ballots. Mr. Heaney conceded the election in a statement from his campaign late Tuesday evening. In the statement he wished Mr. Faso well.
Ms. Teachout, a law professor and author, turned back a challenge from Town of Livingston farmer and Town Board member Will Yandik in the district, which covers all or part of 11 counties in the mid-Hudson Valley and Catskills. But Mr. Yandik did win in Columbia County, all of which is in the 19th District.
Unofficial figures show that Mr. Yandik won in Columbia County by 1,510 to 1,191. But Ms. Teachout won the primary with nearly 73% of the vote.
For more on the primary, below is the report that appeared online at the Times Union’s website Wednesday, June 29, 2016.
It’s Teachout vs. Faso
By Matthew Hamilton, Rick Karlin and Michaela Kilgallen
Reprinted with permission from the Times Union
ALBANY–The race to replace Congressman Chris Gibson (R-19th) will be fought between two candidates who have contended for the governor’s office.
In the Democratic primary in the sprawling district, which stretches from the Vermont border to the lower Hudson Valley and west to the outskirts of Binghamton, law professor and author Zephyr Teachout bested farmer Will Yandik, according to unofficial results.
In the Republican contest, John Faso defeated businessman Andrew Heaney.
Ms. Teachout, appearing with supporters in Kingston, emerged first to denounce Mr. Faso, a former state lawmaker and attorney, as “a creature of Albany” and “the ultimate insider.”
She promised to “break down the doors of power in Washington, D.C. … To move forward in America, we first need to get our democracy back.”
Just minutes later in Hudson, Mr. Faso addressed a crowd at American Glory, a barbecue restaurant, and told them that his general election campaign will be a battle against the liberal left, who he said “want more domination, they want more control over our lives and our economy. We are here to stop them tonight.”
Striking a theme that has dogged previous Democratic candidates in the district, Mr. Faso cast Ms. Teachout as a carpetbagger newly arrived from Brooklyn.
“I look forward to finally bringing America back and changing course for our country,” he said.
The unofficial results Tuesday, June 28 were not much of a shock. Both Mr. Faso and Ms. Teachout led by significant amounts in June polls, including a Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll released on Monday that showed Ms. Teachout up by 39 points and Mr. Faso up by 30 points.
A Faso-Teachout matchup going into the fall is not just a head-to-head of solid candidates. Both have political chops, though Mr. Faso is the only one of the two to actually have held elected office.
Mr. Faso served in the state Assembly for 15 years, including five years as GOP minority leader. He made failed attempts to become state comptroller and win the governor’s office in 2002 and 2006, respectively.
Ms. Teachout embarked on a quixotic campaign for governor in 2014, challenging Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary. The academic and author of “Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United” lost by nearly 170,000 votes, though her 33 percent finish was considered impressive, even in a low-turnout election.
More impactful was that her challenge–and the deal-making Governor Cuomo had to do to keep the progressive Working Families Party from endorsing Ms. Teachout–helped move the governor to the left to start his second term, a trend that has continued.
Congressman Gibson, a Kinderhook Republican who first won election to the House in 2010, declined to seek re-election. He will take a teaching post at Williams College in western Massachusetts.
While both Mr. Faso and Ms. Teachout appeared to cruise to victory, voting in some parts of the district did not go smoothly earlier in the day. In Mr. Faso and Mr. Yandik’s home, Columbia County, some ballots featured the name of Delaware County Republican Bob Bishop, who dropped out of the race in May and endorsed Mr. Faso. Mr. Heaney’s campaign cried foul as officials scrambled to remedy the issue.
Mr. Faso voted at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kinderhook, using a ballot that included Mr. Bishop; the glitch forced him and others to submit their votes manually. Mr. Faso said he was not concerned the issue would affect the results, but said the situation was “annoying, certainly.”
Before 5 p.m., Mr. Heaney called for ballots to be impounded, meaning they would be kept under lock and key until a judge rules whether they should be opened. Mr. Heaney also called for the state Board of Elections to investigate why the local board printed ballots featuring three candidates.
“It’s a disgrace that with only one race on the entire ballot, the Columbia County Board of Elections has so grossly failed the voters,” Mr. Heaney said in a statement. “Every vote matters.”
The county board later issued a statement that said approximately 800 of the incorrect ballots were voted—an average of 15 to 20 ballots per election district.