Bold progressive and "anti-corruption crusader" Zephyr Teachout sailed to victory Tuesday night, nabbing the Democratic nomination for New York's 19th Congressional District.
"Together we’re going to take back our democracy from the powerful interests and lobbyists who want to keep us out," Teachout declared in a statement, just after the vote was called. With most precincts in the district reporting, Teachout emerged with a enormous 74-26 victory over rival Will Yandick.
"The best defense against big money is people," she continued, "and when we come together, we can have clean water, good jobs, strong communities and a government of, by and for the people."
Her victory was celebrated widely as a "huge win for progressives."
"Zephyr's win shows how bold progressive ideas like breaking up too-big-to-fail banks, expanding Social Security benefits instead of cutting them, and getting the corrupting influence of big money out of politics resonate with voters in purple swing districts," said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
"Zephyr is helping to show Democrats across the nation how to take back the House," Taylor continued, "by running on big ideas and challenging corporate power in a way that is popular with Democrats, Independents, and Republicans."
The Fordham University law professor, who in 2014 lost her bid for the Democratic Party nomination for governor of New York to Andrew Cuomo, was endorsed by presidential contender Bernie Sanders earlier this year. At the time, he wrote in an email to supporters that she's "dedicated her life to fixing our broken political system" and that she's "exactly the kind of person I'd want in Congress when I'm president."
After the vote was called, congratulations from other notable progressives flooded social media.
— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) June 29, 2016
— Josh Fox (@joshfoxfilm) June 29, 2016
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) June 29, 2016
— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) June 29, 2016
In a call to action following her win, Democracy for America chair Jim Dean warned that Wall Street is already mobilizing against Teachout, who among other things is one of the backers of an anti-Wall Street activist group the Hedge Clippers.
"Zephyr Teachout is a leader in the fight to get corporate money out of our politics, overturn Citizens United, and take on Wall Street," Dean wrote, declaring her victory "a big step in a bold, populist direction for Democrats."
"But," he added, "the biggest battle is still to come. Wall Street has targeted Zephyr for defeat in November." Dean said that wealthy hedge funders "are already pouring money—including a whopping $500,000 a few days ago—into a Super PAC for her Republican opponent in this swing district."
Teachout is slated to face Republican John Faso in the upcoming November election to succeed U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, (R-Kinderhook). According to the Daily Freeman, Faso "is a lawyer and a former member and minority leader of the state Assembly. He was he Republican candidate for governor in 2006, losing to Democrat Eliot Spitzer."