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Five Democratic candidates vie for chance to challenge Zeldin

COURTESY PHOTO Democrats will go to the polls Tuesday to choose a candidate to run against Congressman Lee Zeldin, above, in November

COURTESY PHOTO Democrats will go to the polls Tuesday to choose a candidate to run against Congressman Lee Zeldin, above, in November

Five candidates are gearing up for the Democratic primary June 26, vying for the nomination to challenge incumbent Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) in November for a seat in the House of Representatives.

They’ve spoken at candidate forums all around the 1st Congressional District, including one at the Hellenic Snack Bar in East Marion in February.

The ballot now includes five candidates: former Suffolk County legislator Kate Browning of Shirley; former Brookhaven National Lab physicist Elaine DiMasi of Ronkonkoma; Perry Gershon, an East Hampton businessman who has worked in commercial real estate; former New York City Council staffer David Pechefsky of Port Jefferson; and former Suffolk County legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher of Setauket.

Ms. Browning, who was a school bus driver while her children were in school, is running on a message that she will fight for working families.

Kate Browning, left, and Elaine DiMasi

COURTEYS PHOTOS Kate Browning, left, and Elaine DiMasi

As a physicist, Ms. DiMasi points to her science background contributing to a commitment to facts and truth. She’s running on a campaign to grow the clean energy sector, for jobs and environment, as well as growing trade schools to keep the workforce up-to-date on clean energy technologies.

Mr. Pechefsky, acknowledging his experience working in government, has said he’s running to make the economy work for everyone. He also favors investing in infrastructure.

Ms. Viloria-Fisher is campaigning on her record as a progressive candidate and asks voters to consider her advocacy for progressive positions during her time spent as a county legislator.

COURTESY PHOTO Victoria Viloria_Fischer

COURTESY PHOTO Victoria Viloria-Fisher

The candidates tend to see eye-to-eye on health care — each supports a move to a single-payer system — protecting the environment and supporting women and the LGBTQ community.

COURTESY PHOTOS Perry Gershon, left, and David Pechefsky.

COURTESY PHOTOS Perry Gershon, left, and David Pechefsky.

Mr. Gershon, who has said he’s running as a businessman and not a career politician, has raised the most in campaign contributions among the candidates. As of June 6, the Federal Election Commission reported that he’d raised $2,110,371 and spent $1,660,210, ending with $450,161 cash on hand.

Mr. Zeldin has $1,501,640 cash on hand, having raised $2,467,972 and spent $1,339,419, according to the FEC.

The Democratic candidate with the second-highest amount raised is Ms. Browning, with $493,850, according to the FEC. She has $112,486 on hand.

Polls open Tuesday, June 26, at 6 a.m. at Shelter Island School and close at 9 p.m.

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