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Stony Brook scientist announces bid for Congress in 2020

The 2020 election for the 1st Congressional District may seem like a long way off, but candidates are already gearing up.

Several Democratic candidates are lining up to challenge incumbent Republican Lee Zeldin of Shirley.

The Federal Elections Commission currently lists three candidates: Mr. Zeldin, Democrat Perry Gershon of East Hampton, who unsuccessfully ran against Mr. Zeldin in 2018 and who announced his intentions to run again in April; and David Gokhshtein of Brooklyn, who describes himself as an entrepreneur, cryptocurrency investor, educator and motivator.

He is registered with the Independence Party, and would need to move into the 1st Congressional District in order to run for the position.

On Tuesday, Nancy Goroff, a scientist and chair of the chemistry department at Stony Brook University, formally declared her intention to run for Mr. Zeldin’s seat.

The Democratic candidate could be decided by a June 23, 2020, primary, which was the case in 2018, when five candidates were involved in a primary for the Democratic nod. Mr. Gershon won the primary.

Ms. Goroff issued the following statement in announcing her candidacy: “Suffolk is home. It’s where I raised my two daughters. It’s where I work. For the past 22 years, I have taught at Stony Brook University, where we’ve innovated and inspired the next generation. As a scientist, I believe in facts. And it’s a fact that Washington is hurting Suffolk families. I’m running for Congress to use my experience as a scientist to combat global warming, make health care affordable, protect a woman’s right to choose, and end the gun violence epidemic.”

The FEC website indicates that Mr. Zeldin had raised $601,177 as of March 31, and Mr. Gershon has only raised $2.09 during that time. However, Mr. Gershon issued a release on Tuesday indicating that he had raised $406,750 in the second quarter of this year, “all from individuals contributors and supporters.”

Mr. Gershon said in the release that “Long Islanders are eager to fix what is broken and corrupt in Washington.”

Mr. Zeldin, 39, is an attorney and an Army Reservist who was elected to Congress in 2014 and is serving his third two-year term. Prior to that, he was a New York State Senator from 2011 to 2014.

The 1st Congressional District includes all of the East End and Brookhaven Town, along with most of the Town of Smithtown.

Representatives of Mr. Zeldin could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mr. Zeldin’s campaign website touted his record, saying, “On the national level, Lee is fighting every day in Washington to help grow our economy and create more good paying private sector jobs, strengthen our national security, fight for our veterans, improve health care and education in America, repair our local infrastructure, and safeguard our environment.”

Locally, it credits Mr. Zeldin for having “successfully resolved over 8,800 constituent cases in favor of NY-1 residents.”

Photo caption: Nancy Goroff announced her plan to run for Congress Tuesday. (Courtesy photo)

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