by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Zephyr Teachout has conceded defeat in yet another campaign for public office. The perennial candidate’s recently announced withdrawal from the New York attorney general’s race means Teachout has a shot at stealing Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s title as the biggest failure among active Democratic politicians.
Teachout, a heavily credentialed attorney with degrees from Duke and Yale, announced her candidacy for attorney general less than a month ago. She ran for the same office in 2018 but lost the Democratic primary to the eventual winner, Letitia James, who recently announced she was seeking reelection after abruptly ending her campaign for governor.
“Attorney General Letitia James is an exceptional leader and dedicated public servant,” Teachout said in a statement on Sunday. “Given her decision to seek re-election, I will be immediately suspending my own campaign.”
In addition to her two failed campaigns for attorney general, Teachout also ran a failed campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016, losing to Republican John Faso by more than 8 percentage points in New York’s 19th Congressional District. Prior to that, Teachout ran unsuccessfully for governor of New York in 2014, when she lost the Democratic primary to Andrew Cuomo by nearly 30 percentage points.
This impressive string of political failures makes Teachout a viable candidate to surpass O’Rourke as the Democratic Party’s biggest failure. O’Rourke has failed fewer times but has done so on a much larger stage. After losing his U.S. Senate race against Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) in 2018, he subsequently launched a presidential campaign by declaring he was “born to be in it” on the cover of Vanity Fair. Beto dropped out of the 2020 Democratic primary several months before the first votes were cast.