Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout on Wednesday encouraged local Democratic chairs and committee leaders from across the state to drop their support for incumbent Andrew Cuomo and back her campaign.

In the letter released this evening, Teachout writes the growing controversy over the governor’s involvement in the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption — and the subsequent inquiry over its shutdown by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office — is “damaging” to the party in New York.

She also warned in the letter the Moreland mess could have a negative impact on down ballot races. Democrats are trying to claim an outright majority in the state Senate this year after the Independent Democratic Conference pledged to form a new governing coalition with the mainline conference in the chamber.

“As leaders of the Democratic Party, you have an important role to play,” she wrote. “If the Democratic Party and its leaders stay silent, whether it be out of loyalty or fear, it threatens to tarnish the Party and may have ramifications up and down the ballot. The Governor, and his special interest fundraising machine, are becoming a liability. I have spent my life studying and fighting against corruption in all its forms.”

Cuomo was nominated for a second term by state Democrats at the party’s convention in Suffolk County in May.

In addition to the usual roll call of party officials pledging support for Cuomo, the governor’s re-election team rolled out a video of high-profile Democrats — ranging from former President Bill Clinton to ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo — announcing their endorsement of his re-election effort.

August 12 by Nick Reisman