Channeling Sanders' Call for Revolution, Teachout Soars in NY Congressional Race

Populist candidate Zephyr Teachout has entirely outstripped all other Democratic congressional candidates in New York in 2016 in fundraising, bringing in over half a million dollars mostly from small individual donations, according to her campaign’s most recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.

Teachout’s fundraising success signals her continued popularity with New York progressives, who were overjoyed when Teachout shocked establishment politicians by winning over a third of the vote in the 2014 New York gubernatorial primary despite running against well-funded incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo on a shoestring budget, no political experience or name recognition, and an anti-corruption platform.

Teachout has attracted some wealthy donors, such as the actor Mark Ruffalo and a Rockefeller heiress, but the majority of her contributions has been from small donors—echoing the fundraising successes of the Bernie Sanders campaign, which famously boasts an average donation of $27.

Teachout’s campaign raised $530,732 in the first quarter of 2016, Capital New York reports.

“According to [Teachout’s] campaign, 10,657 people had sent donations by the end of March. This trend seems likely to continue, as presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has since sent out multiple fundraising appeals asking people to make $2.70 donations that will be split between him and Teachout,” Capital New York notes.

Sanders publicly backed Teachout and two other progressive women for Congress earlier this month, and Teachout endorsed Sanders for president last year, describing the Democratic presidential hopeful as “a fearless, experienced leader capable of seeing the truth, and standing up to big private power, even when it’s almost impossibly hard.”

“Zephyr literally wrote the book on political corruption,” Sanders wrote in turn in his fundraising appeal on behalf of Teachout’s campaign. “She understands better than anybody how special interests try to buy off politicians, and she’s dedicated her life to fixing our broken political system.”

As Tim Murphy points out in Mother Jones, “The similarities between two of the left’s leading critics of corporatocracy are obvious to the point of cliché.”