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.

05/10/14 9:11am
05/10/2014 9:11 AM
Supervisor Sean Walter. (Credit: Tim Gannon, file)

Supervisor Sean Walter. (Credit: Tim Gannon, file)

The battle between Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter and town Republican leader Mason Haas continues.

Mr. Walter said the GOP leader has now banned Town Board members from attending Republican committee meetings, and that the committee now has a rule requiring candidates to give one-third of their campaign funds over to the committee.   (more…)

05/14/13 9:42pm
05/14/2013 9:42 PM
Alain "Albie" de Kerillis of East Marion.

Alain “Albie” de Kerillis of East Marion.

The Suffolk County Republican Committee on Tuesday night nominated Alain “Albie” de Kerillis of East Marion as the committees’ candidate to take on incumbent Democrat Al Krupski in the race for the county Legislature seat representing the towns of Southold, Riverhead and parts of eastern Brookhaven Town.

County Republicans held their nominating convention at the Ramada Inn in Holtsville, at which they nominated candidates for county Legislature seats and renominated incumbents Tom Spota for district attorney, Angie Carpenter for treasurer and Vince DeMarco for sheriff.

Mr. Spota and Mr. DeMarco have both run with Democratic backing in the past as well.

The Republicans did not nominate someone to run for the state Assembly seat left vacant when Dan Losquadro was elected Brookhaven highway superintendent in March — but they are expected to do so soon.

“We’re just finishing up some discussions among the leaders, and we will do an announcement on [an Assembly nominee] hopefully by the end of the week,” county Republican chairman John Jay LaValle said after the convention.

Mr. de Kerillis, 46, was not present at the convention, and could not be reached for comment.

He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he was a paratrooper. He’s also a member and former captain of the Greenport Fire Department, a volunteer at Maureen’s Haven, which provides food and shelter for the homeless, a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Paris, France, and a commissioner of the Orient/East Marion Parks District.

He works for Riverhead Building Supply in Greenport and ran for Southold Town Board in 2009, but finished third in a race for two seats.

“Albie is a lifelong Republican and he’s in the private sector now and that’s what we like,” Mr. LaValle said. “He’s served his country with distinction. He’s a pretty well rounded guy.

“He’s someone working in the private sector who knows what’s going on out there.”

“Albie is a strong candidate, he’s a solid Republican and he’s a tireless campaigner,” said Southold Republican leader Peter McGreevy.

In the County Legislature’s second district, which represents the South Fork, the Republicans nominated Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi to challenge incumbent Jay Schneiderman of Montauk, who was elected as a Republican but has since switched his registration to the Independence Party. He was re-elected with Democratic backing two years ago.

Mr. Nuzzi has been on the Southampton Town Board for eight years, and thus, cannot serve any longer as a councilman under that town’s term limit laws.

Mr. Nuzzi said he considered running for supervisor, but decided instead to run for Legislature.

The North Fork’s seat on the county Legislature had been held for many years by Ed Romaine, but when Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko resigned last fall, Mr. Romaine ran for that seat and was elected.

That set off a special election to fill his county seat, and Mr. Krupski, a former Southold Town Board member, handily defeated Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter in January for the remainder of the term.

Shortly afterward, Mr. Losquadro ran for a vacant Brookhaven Town highway superintendent seat and won, leaving his old Assembly seat vacant.

To date, it doesn’t appear that Governor Andrew Cuomo intends to call a special election to fill the Assembly seat, instead waiting for the November general election date.

Mr. Cuomo has not publicly commented at all on his plans for the vacant Assembly seat.

tgannon@timesreview.com 

03/21/13 11:04am
03/21/2013 11:04 AM

FILE PHOTO | The state capitol in Albany.

Local and county Republican committee leaders met with seven potential candidates for the state Assembly seat vacated this month by Dan Losquadro, though it still remains unclear if a special election will be held anytime soon, party officials said.

Mr. Losquadro, of Shoreham, left state office less than four months after being elected to a second two-year term in Albany in November.

He was voted in as Brookhaven Town highway superintendent March 5.

The 2nd Assembly District encompasses all of Southold and Riverhead towns, and stretches as far as Mount Sinai along Brookhaven Town’s northern shore.

SEE MAP

Governor Andew Cuomo must decide when to hold the special election for the remainder of Mr. Losquadro’s term.

“Nobody knows if [the special election] is going to be lumped into the general election,” said Riverhead Republican Committee chairman John Galla.

The seven people who screened at county Republican headquarters in Holtsville Wednesday night include (in no particular order):

Raymond Negron, a Mount Sinai attorney and Purple Heart recipient

John Kreutz, deputy receiver of taxes in Brookhaven Town

Stephen Kiely, a Mattituck attorney

Bob Ghosio, a Southold Town trustee

Anthony Palumbo, a New Suffolk attorney

Bill Faulk, former Ed Romaine aide of Manorville

Chris Talbot, a Southold Town Board member

The names were provided by Mr. Galla, who said he was impressed with all the candidates.

Catherine Stark, a Riverhead Republican Committee member and aide to county Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk), is considering screening but had a scheduling conflict Wednesday night, he said.

Southold and Brookhaven party chairmen also attended the screenings.

Mr. Galla said he agrees the special election coincide with the May 21 school budget votes, something the Times/Review Newsgroup editorial board has called for, rather than on Election Day. Calls to the Governor Cuomo’s office about the special election have not been returned.

“I think it makes perfect sense on so many different levels that we would combine the special elections with that of the school budgets,” Mr. Galla said. “The new voting machines are going to be in the voting places anyway, and certianly state aid to education plays into school budgets.”

“I’m not going to bash the governor, but I would ask him [to agree to a May special election], had I had the opportunity. I think he would agree on some level that the people of the Assembly District should be represented” from now until November.

“I would favor that earlier vote,” Mr. Galla continued. “I think it makes perfect legitimate sense.”

County leader John J. LaValle was not immediately available for comment.

mwhite@timesreview.com 

Read more in the March 28 News-Review newspaper.