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 stab at six-time incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) next year as the Republican has the support of party leaders in 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.
At a time when a large portion of the federal government is not functioning due to a political gridlock in Washington, D.C., the Major in the Army Reserves and former paratrooper states in the video, “we can end the era of fiscal insanity and DC dysfunction.”
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 Security 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 Chair John Jay LaValle said on Monday morning that Bishop will face his “first real challenge in public office” with the party-backed candidate in 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 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.”