10/17/14 7:00am
10/17/2014 7:00 AM
State Senator Lee Zeldin (left) and Congressman Tim Bishop (right) took turns a podium in Polish Hall to address questions Wednesday night in Riverhead.

State Senator Lee Zeldin (left) and Congressman Tim Bishop (right) took turns a podium in Polish Hall to address questions Wednesday night in Riverhead.

The roles at a political debate are simple and well-defined.

The moderator asks the questions. The candidates answer them. The audience reacts respectfully.  (more…)

10/09/14 11:05am
State Senator Lee Zeldin (left) and Congressman Tim Bishop (right) took turns a podium in Polish Hall to address questions Wednesday night in Riverhead.

Republican state Senator Lee Zeldin (left) and Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop (right). (Credit: Grant Parpan)

The two major party candidates for the 1st Congressional District squared off at a contentious debate — at least, contentious between incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop and the GOP-dominated crowd — in a packed Polish Hall in Riverhead Wednesday night.

State Senator Lee Zeldin of Shirley, a Republican and Iraq War veteran who unsuccessfully ran against Mr. Bishop in 2008 before seeking office in Albany, enjoyed a political home-field advantage among the nearly 250 who showed up at the event, organized and sponsored by RiverheadLocal.com, an online news website.

RiverheadLocal co-publisher Denise Civiletti moderated.

At times during the debate, specifically when Mr. Bishop faulted Tea Party members in Congress for much of the gridlock in Washington, the crowd degenerated into shout-downs and name-calling.

“You’re a liar!” yelled one attendee, after Mr. Bishop said “compromise has become a four-letter word in Washington under Tea Party control.” (more…)

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