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…)

10/07/13 1:00pm
10/07/2013 1:00 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) will challenge incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) in 2014.

COURTESY PHOTO | State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) will challenge incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) in 2014.

State Senator Lee Zeldin, a Shirley resident who lost a 2008 run for Congress and has since served two terms in Albany, will be taking another run at six-time incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) next year, as the Republican has the support of party leaders for the 2014 congressional race.

Mr. Zeldin, 33, announced his candidacy on Monday morning, launching a website along with a video telling voters why he’s seeking higher office. He earned 41 percent of the vote in his 2008 run against Mr. Bishop, before defeating state Senator Brian X. Foley with 57 percent of the vote in 2010.

At a time when a large portion of the federal government is not functioning due to a political gridlock in Washington, D.C., U.S. Army Reserves major and former paratrooper states in the video that “we can end the era of fiscal insanity and D.C. dysfunction.”

Zeldin said on Monday that financial issues such as “out of control debt and spending” concern him as a candidate, and working in public office over the past few years has prepared him in regards to the political process and issues.

But on Monday morning, Mr. Bishop laid the blame for the current impasse at the feet of a faction of the House Republicans, calling it a “manufactured crisis by the Tea Party wing of the Republicans, who have simply taken over.”

Mr. Zeldin will face George Demos in a primary next year. Mr. Demos, a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer, will be entering his third primary in the First Congressional District after earning just 13 percent of the vote in 2012, and coming in second place with 30 percent of the vote in 2010.

Mr. Bishop, who defeated Randy Altschuler in the last two election cycles, said on Monday morning, “It certainly looks as if Lee Zeldin and George Demos are going to have a very spirited primary. As of now, I’m 100 percent focused on doing my job, and look forward to facing whoever comes out of that primary.”

County Republican chairman John Jay LaValle said on Monday morning that Bishop will face his “first real challenge in public office” with the party-backed candidate in Mr. Zeldin, adding that no other candidates had been thoroughly considered to challenge Mr. Bishop.

He also pointed to a recent investigation by the House Ethics Committee into the incumbent congressman that could prove to benefit Mr. Zeldin’s run.

“When you’re running against an individual who has never served in public office, with no name recognition, that’s one race,” Mr. LaValle said. “It’s another race when individuals like Lee Zeldin – a sitting elected official – steps up.”

jpinciaro@timesreview.com