Duke alumnus Stephen Miller helped elect Donald Trump, but now a different Duke alumnus hopes to bring him down. 

Zephyr Teachout, M.A. and J.D. '99, is running as a progressive populist in Thursday's Democratic primary race for the position of New York's attorney general. 

Like many other Democrats, Teachout is running in opposition to President Trump. In 2017, three days after President Trump’s inauguration, she and a team of lawyers sued him in the case Citizens for Responsibility in Ethics in Washington v. Trump for his violations of the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution. On her campaign website, she names “leading the legal resistance against the Trump assault on law” as her first priority as attorney general. 

Endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Cortez, Teachout is running on a populist and progressive platform. In the wake of Cortez's victory over incumbent and Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, her platform might prove to be strategic to attract New Yorkers currently gravitating toward an alternative to the Democratic establishment. 

She presents herself as the people’s choice, aiming to serve their needs instead of the interests of the corrupt political elite.

Especially in light of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's victory in New York's 14th congressional district, this platform might be of particular importance to New Yorkers dissatisfied with the establishment.

However, this race is not Teachout’s first. In 2014, she lost to incumbent New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic Party primary. Two years ago, she also made a bid for the House and lost in a tight race in the general election. 

And, just like her past races, Teachout’s path to attorney general won’t be easy. 

A new poll from Monday put Teachout in third with 18 percent of the vote behind Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) and New York City public advocate Letita James, who had 25 percent and 24 percent of the vote respectively. 

Raised by a constitutional law professor and a state court judge, her prospective career in the law was of little surprise. Teachout graduated summa cum laude from Duke Law and served as editor-in-chief of the Duke Law Journal. She also received a master of arts in political science from Duke Graduate School.

"[Teachout] distinguished herself as one of the sharpest progressive minds in the Class of ‘99," her classmate David Bowsher, J.D. ’99, wrote in an email.

After Duke, Teachout went on to clerk for Chief Judge Edward Roy Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 

Later, she chose a path in academia. With the experience of being a former visiting professor of law at Duke and a former lecturer at the University of Vermont under her belt, she currently serves as a professor at Fordham Law School.