In an election year in which women have already shattered the stereotype of a female politician — baring tattoos and breast-feeding on camera — a candidate for New York attorney general may have just notched another first. Or more accurately, her child did.
Law professor Zephyr Teachout, who is due to give birth in October and has racked up a number of high-profile endorsements heading into Thursday's Democratic primary, released a campaign ad on Twitter on Monday afternoon featuring an ultrasound machine.
"What does his or her future look like?” Teachout asks over the black-and-white sonogram and the thump of a heartbeat. “Do we save our democracy? Do we flip Congress? Does Robert Mueller indict Trump? I don't want to wait and see."
"You've never seen an attorney general like me, and neither have they,” she concludes as the camera pans across her belly. Such was Teachout's latest contribution to a year that has seen women run for prominent office in unprecedented numbers and often do so while celebrating aspects of their lives and bodies that campaign consultants might have once urged them to cover up.
Some of the most notable example were ads released earlier this year by gubernatorial candidates Krish Vignarajah of Maryland and Kelda Roys of Wisconsin, who both breast-fed their children on camera. But many have catalogued a year-long series of expectation-breaking candidacies, as women campaign on their own stories — personal and professional.
"Being pregnant doesn’t change the fact that I’ve been working on these issues for over 15 years. It doesn’t change the fact that I have a unique expertise,” Teachout told Time magazine last month.
Ultrasound aside, her new ad flicks at some of the qualities that have attracted supporters to her liberal, anti-Trumpian campaign.
When Teachout mentioned special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, she echoed the New York Times' recent endorsement of her candidacy, in which the newspaper speculated that the attorney general could “be the last line of defense” should President Trump shut down the special counsel's criminal investigation into his inner circle.
Teachout was third in a Siena poll that showed a tight primary for the job, trailing Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Letitia James, New York City public advocate.