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As Zeldin campaign hosts kick-off fundraiser, Democrats counter with own rally

Two days after the Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional District, election season appears to be in full swing.

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) and Democratic challenger Perry Gershon of East Hampton will be at competing events in Smithtown Thursday night as the race for the 1st Congressional District begins.

A Zeldin for Congress Campaign Kick-Off rally is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Smithtown Elks Lodge. Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer will be among the special guests for the fundraiser.

Sebastian Gorka, a former adviser to President Trump, and former Congressman Chris Gibson are also listed as special guests.

Mr. Spicer left his role in the administration last July and since authored a book scheduled for release soon called “The Briefing” and is also in discussions for starting a talk show, the New York Times reported this week. Mr. Gorka, a former editor of the right-wing website Breitbart News, was forced out of his position at the White House last August.

Meanwhile, Suffolk County Democrats announced a rally at Smithtown Town Hall to unite the party behind Mr. Gershon and Liuba Grechen Shirley, the candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes southwestern Suffolk and a small portion of Nassau County. Ms. Grechen Shirley defeated DuWayne Gregory, the presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, in Tuesday’s primary and will face Peter King (R-Seaford). Mr. Gershon won a five-person race, finishing ahead of former Suffolk County legislator Kate Browning by more than 1,000 votes.

The Democrats described Mr. Gorka as a “far right conspiracy theorist.” Their rally will be approximately one mile from the fundraiser for Mr. Zeldin.

Voter turnout in the 1st Congressional District primary nearly doubled the numbers from 2016, giving Democrats reason for optimism ahead of the November midterm election. Mr. Zeldin easily won re-election in 2016 by defeating former Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst to claim his second term.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

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