06/24/14 9:37pm
State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

It will be a rematch between Tim Bishop and Lee Zeldin this fall.

State Senator Lee Zeldin defeated George Demos in Tuesday’s primary to secure the GOP line in the race for New York’s 1st Congressional District seat.

Mr. Zeldin, 34, defeated Mr. Demos with 62 percent of the vote, grabbing 9,654 votes compared to 5,880 for Mr. Demos.

Name Votes
Lee Zeldin  9654
George Demos  5880

Mr. Zeldin (R-Shirley) will now prepare to redeem himself on Nov. 4 after his first run for political office six years ago against Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), in which he earned 41 percent of the vote compared to the incumbent’s 58 percent.

Despite the previous results, he said he believes his odds are much better this time around in a midterm election, which national pundits widely agree can often bring fewer Democrats to the polls.

“In 2008, there were certainly factors that were out of our control that are not the same dynamics now,” Mr. Zeldin said Wednesday morning. “Barack Obama was much more popular than he is today. People were suffering from [former President George] Bush fatigue and the war in Iraq. And the economy at the end of September really started to get a lot worse.”

Personally, he pointed to experience he’s since gained at the legislative level — he was elected to the New York State Senate in 2010 — which has brought him more name recognition, a pool of campaign volunteers and better campaign financing.

Despite all that, Mr. Demos outspent Mr. Zeldin throughout the primary campaign at a rate of more than three-to-one, spending over $1.9 million compared to Mr. Zeldin’s $580,000.

Mr. Demos — who ran in two previous primaries, in 2010 and 2012 — said he was unsure what the future would hold for him.

“I want to continue to be involved in public service and fight for conservative principles,” he said. When asked if he might run again for public office, he said he hadn’t decided yet.

A spokesman for Mr. Bishop, Keith Davies, released the following statement after Tuesday’s race.

“Lee Zeldin now has a voting record which shows he has far-right positions which are out of the mainstream in Suffolk County. Not only did he oppose the bipartisan SAFE Act which expanded New York’s ban on assault weapons, he led a Tea Party rally to denounce it.”

Mr. Bishop will be running for his seventh consecutive term after defeating challenger Randy Altschuler in his last two campaigns.

06/23/14 8:00am
06/23/2014 8:00 AM
State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

They’ve been slamming each other in campaign advertisements for weeks, with each linking the other to Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House, in one form or another. And come Tuesday, Republican voters will decide whether Lee Zeldin or George Demos will be their candidate to oppose incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) in the fall.  (more…)

05/28/14 8:00am
05/28/2014 8:00 AM
Republican candidates for Congress, Lee Zeldin (L) and George Demos. (Credit: LI News Radio)

Republican candidates for Congress, Lee Zeldin (L) and George Demos. (Credit: LI News Radio)

The two candidates for the Republican congressional nomination next month faced off in a debate last Friday on Long Island News Radio, tackling issues such as illegal immigration, veterans’ health, unemployment benefits, Ukraine, and other issues. (more…)

03/10/14 6:00pm
03/10/2014 6:00 PM
Democrat, Congressman, New York

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop.

The last time Congressman Tim Bishop ran for re-election, he did not have the support of the Independence Party, which instead went to his Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler.

This time, it’s back.

The Independence Party this week threw its support behind the 12-year incumbent Democrat from Southampton, after screening Mr. Bishop and Republican challengers Lee Zeldin and George Demos, who appear headed for a June 24 primary.

“We’re proud to endorse Tim Bishop,” said Frank MacKay, who heads the state and county Independence parties. “He’s done a wonderful job representing our area and we’re thrilled to have him.”

The Independence Party has endorsed Mr. Bishop in five of his seven elections, including his last race against Mr. Zeldin in 2008. They endorsed Mr. Altschuler in 2012 race against Mr. Bishop, but when the two faced off in 2010, they endorsed Mr. Bishop.

“The last time we went with Alschulter,” Mr. MacKay said. “We liked Randy and we like Tim, now we’re back with Tim. He’s a tireless worker for his constituents in the first Congressional District, and I see him in action on a daily basis.”

In the 2010 race against Mr. Altschuler, the Independence line appeared to play heavily into the outcome of the race, as Mr. Bishop won by just 593 votes and received 7,370 votes on the Independence line.

In the 2012 rematch, Mr. Bishop won by 13,875 votes without the Independence line, which garnered 4,953 votes for Mr. Altschuler.

The only other time Mr. Bishop did not have the Independence line was in 2002, when he was the challenger facing incumbent Republican Felix Grucci.

tgannon@timesreview.com

02/17/14 10:00am
02/17/2014 10:00 AM
State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), shown here, will challenge incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) in 2014. (Courtesy file photo)

State Senator Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), pictured above, will challenge incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) in November. (Courtesy file photo)

Some familiar faces will be looking for the Republican nod for Congress this fall, with the winner getting a shot at longtime incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop.

(more…)

08/08/11 5:18pm
08/08/2011 5:18 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Randy Altschuler was all smiles when he won the GOP primary for New York's FIrst Congressional District in 2010. Now one of his opponents, George Demos, is saying he wants to give Altschuler another run for the Rpublican nod in 2012.

George Demos, a former Shelter Island part-time resident who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop in 2010, is running again. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 nomination on Monday.

Republican and Conservative party leaders almost immediately responded with announcement reaffirming their support for Randy Altschuler, who won the nomination last year and went on to lose to Mr. Bishop by 593 votes out of nearly 200,000 in November.

“We need to learn from last year’s mistakes and not let divisions within our own party allow Tim Bishop to sneak back into office again,” said County GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle. “Our country is in the midst of a severe economic and fiscal crisis and we need a business leader like Randy Atlschuler in Washington to fix it.”

“America’s hour of truth has arrived,” Mr. Demos said in announcing his candidacy. “Do we believe in freedom or the tyranny of big government?”

He drew 30 percent of the vote in the three-way GOP primary last September, with Mr. Altschuler taking 46 percent and Chris Cox, a resident of Westhampton Beach, taking 23 percent.

A former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney, Mr. Demos says he has dedicated his entire career to fighting corporate fraud and crime on behalf of the American people. On his campaign website, where he describes himself as a lifelong member of the Shelter Island community and a resident of Brookhaven.

“George Demos claims to be a conservative but after his announcement today he might as well be on Tim Bishop’s payroll,” said Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh. “The fact of the matter is that Demos can’t win this race and he knows it. The only thing his candidacy does is make it easier for a job-killing liberal like Bishop to get re-elected. He has zero support within the Conservative Party and if he cared at all about defeating Bishop he would get out of the race.”

“I’ll be blunt. We can’t afford a primary and should be united with a single goal in mind — defeating a tax and spend liberal incumbent and electing Randy Altschuler to Congress,” said Brookhaven Town Republican Chairman Jesse Garcia.

“Today’s announcement by George Demos has no impact on our strategy moving forward,” said Altschuler spokesman Chris Russell.

pboody@timesreview.com