Sep 17th - 7:29 pm
A new Siena College/Newsday/News 12 poll shows veteran Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop leading his GOP challenger, state Sen. Lee Zeldin, by 10 percentage points with seven weeks to go until the November general election.
The split is 51-41 with with 8 percent undecided. Fifty-five percent of poll respondents said they are firm in their choice of candidate and there’s no way they will change their minds before the election.
Despite an ongoing ethics investigation into his fundraising – a point the GOP has repeatedly sought to exploit – Bishop has a strong favorable rating in his district, 54-39. Zeldin’s favorable/unfavorable rating is 40-29, with 32 percent of voters saying they don’t know enough about him to have an opinion one way or the other.
Zeldin is ahead 6 points with male voters, but Bishop has a whopping 23-point lead with women.
“With seven weeks to go, this race is likely to be a hotly contested battle between a popular incumbent Democratic representative and a popular Republican state senator,” said Siena pollster Steve Greenberg. “Enrollment and lower turnout in a gubernatorial year favor Zeldin. However, Bishop is better known, viewed stronger on more issues and is certainly not hurt by having Cuomo at the top of the ticket,” Greenberg said. “This is one to watch.”
Greenberg said jobs is the most important issue to voters, and by 10 points they say Bishop will be better on that issue. Zeldin and Bishop run very close in voters’ minds on taxes, turmoil in the Mideast and immigration.
Zeldin’s campaign manager Eric Amidon issued a lengthy statement calling the poll “flawed,” adding:
“They didn’t ask the ballot right, there were too few Republican and Conservative Party voters, and they failed to account for a missing 6 percent in the party registration methodology. They should throw this poll out and start over again.”
Amidon also insisted Zeldin’s campaign strategy won’t be impacted by the results of this poll. He noted that unspecified pre-primary polls (not conducted by Siena) showed Zeldin trailing his GOP opponent, George Demos, and the senator ended up winning the June 24 race by almost 25 percentage points.
President Obama’s numbers are underwater in NY-1, with his unfavorables outweighing his favorables, 55-41. But support for Obama’s fellow Democrat, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is strong, with a 56-40 favorable/unfavorable rating, compared to 24-26 for his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. Astorino remains unknown to 50 percent of voters in this district.
In a hypothetical head-to-head match-up, Cuomo beats Astorino, 52-32, with 6 percent saying they prefer Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, and 9 percent undecided. Cuomo has the support of 33 percent of Republicans in the district, and also leads Astorino by 35 percentage points with women and 5 with men.
Sep 9th - 3:55 pm
Now both the NRCC and the DCCC are on the air in the Long Island district of NY-1, hoping to assist their respective candidates – Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop and Republican state Sen. Lee Zeldin – as the November general election draws near.
The NRCC this morning released a spot that highlights the fact that Bishop is under investigation for helping a constituent secure a fireworks permit for a Bar Mitzvah and then demanding a campaign contribution in return. That’s actually the national committee’s second ad on the subject; the first aired in February.
Now the DCCC has followed suit with its first ad of this race, which accuses Zeldin of wanting to “privatize” Social Security and features a testimonial from a Long Island senior citizen named “Walter.” The ad started running on cable stations in the district today. Here’s the script:
Walter: I worked for over forty-three years before I retired. When the market crashed, all of our plans, our future, could have been gone. The only sure thing was having Social Security to fall back on.
Narrator: Lee Zeldin said he’d privatize Social Security…gambling our retirement on Wall Street with the same banks that crashed our economy.
Walter: Let’s face it. The stock market is a gamble. If you want to gamble, go to a casino. Don’t gamble with Social Security. This is money we earned. Lee Zeldin would break Social Security’s promise.
Narrator: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”
Sep 9th - 9:42 am
The NRCC is out with yet another TV ad slamming veteran Long Island Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop for a fundraising scandal that has been the subject of several investigations.
This is the second ad from the national GOP that focuses on the probes into whether the NY-1 congressman’s office solicited a campaign contribution in exchange for securing fireworks permits for a constituent who wanted to put on a show at a Bar Mitzvah.
The first ran back in February. The NRCC says the buy for this ad is bigger – $231,000 – and it will run on NYC cable stations from today through Sept. 15.
The allegations first surfaced in 2012. Bishop has called this a “non-story,” but the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District reportedly requested information from the congressman’s office in early 2013.
The Office of Congressional Ethics released a 177-page report in the fall of 2013 that found “a substantial reason” to believe Bishop had violated the law in soliciting a donation from the constituent in question.
The “mailman” reference is pulled from the OCE report.
The OCE transmitted a referral to the House Ethics Committee, and the committee extended its review.
Bishop was named one of CREW’s “most corrupt” members of Congress in 2012 and 2013. He won re-election in 2012, defeating his GOP challenger, Randy Altschuler, who was making a second attempt at unseating the Democratic congressman.
Altschuler, a largely self-funding businessman, came very close to defeating Bishop in 2010; the 2012 race was not as tight.
This year, Bishop is facing state Sen. Lee Zeldin, who defeated George Demos, a former aide to ex-Gov. George Pataki and a serial congressional candidate, in the June primary.
Jun 12th - 1:12 pm
I what I believe is the organization’s first endorsement of this election season, the NFIB has announced its support for Sen. Lee Zeldin’s congressional campaign in Long Island’s NY-1.
Zeldin is facing off against fellow Republican George Demos in the June 24 primary. The winner of that race will advance on the GOP line to take on veteran Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, whom the Republicans have been trying (without success) to oust for several cycles now.
“New York is a tough place for small business owners and no one has fought harder on their behalf than Lee Zeldin,” said NFIB/New York State Director Mike Durant. “Lee Zeldin has been rock-steady on small business issues and Congressman Bishop simply hasn’t been reliable. Our members know they can count on Lee Zeldin to represent their interests in Washington and we’re very proud to support his candidacy.”
The NFIB is the country’s leading advocate for small business owners, and has about 10,000 members in New York. The group endorses candidates based on their voting record on key issues identified by its members such as health care, taxes, labor and regulatory issues.
NFIB tracks votes at the state and federal levels. During his past two-year term in the state Senate, Zeldin earned a 94 percent score on the NFIB Voting Record. He received a perfect 100 percent score in the last term. By contrast, on the NFIB scale, Bishop has a lifetime 21 percent voting record on small business issues.
Technically speaking, the endorsement was made by NFIB SAFE Trust, the organization’s political action committee.
Jun 11th - 10:29 am
Republican congressional candidate George Demos on Tuesday night feted the loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in his primary, and sought to tie the Virginia upset to his own race against state Sen. Lee Zeldin.
“Tonight liberal establishment politician Eric Cantor was crushed in his Republican Primary because of his vote to fully fund Obamacare,” Demos said. “On June 24th, Republicans in New York’s First District will defeat Eric Cantor’s chosen establishment politician Liberal Lee Zeldin, who also voted to fund Obamacare in New York.”
It’s an interesting tactic to take: Clearly Demos is hoping to capture some of the anti-establishment fervor that drove David Brat to defeat Cantor last night can be translated to the Suffolk County Congressional district.
Zeldin has the support from the state Republican Committee, as well as the state Conservative Party, though Demos has the backing of figures former Gov. George Pataki and ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Demos noted that Cantor is due to appear at a fundraiser on Saturday for Zeldin.
“Perhaps they can discuss their horrendous votes to fund Obamacare,” he said.
Update: State Republican spokesman David Laska responded, suggesting that the Demos statement was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
“Being called part of the liberal establishment by George Demos is like being called a bully by Andrew Cuomo: the Demos campaign is funded almost exclusively by California Democrats with deep ties to Nancy Pelosi,” Laska said. “Lee Zeldin has spent the last four years fighting for tax cuts for hard-working Long Islanders while George Demos, the world’s first and only Pelosi Republican, has been unemployed and living off his family money on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.”
Jun 6th - 12:14 pm
Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will headline a fundraiser for GOP Congressional hopeful Lee Zeldin on June 14, with tickets going as high as $5,200.
The fundraiser comes as Zeldin is the middle of a heated primary battle against George Demos, a former SEC prosecutor.
Both Zeldin and Demos have traded blows over Zeldin’s votes in the Legislature and Demos’ campaign contributors tied to Nancy Pelosi.
The winner takes on Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop this fall in the NY-1 in Suffolk County.
Zeldin has the backing of state Republican committee and local GOP officials, but Demos has been endorsed by former Gov. George Pataki and ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, both of whom have ties to Demos’ campaign advisors.
May 2nd - 1:00 pm
The latest TV ad in the Republican congressional primary battle on Long Island has state Sen. Lee Zeldin blasting his opponent George Demos once again for ties to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
From the script:
“George Demos’ attack ads have been called “shameful” and “desperate.” And now we know Demos’ ads are bankrolled by Nancy Pelosi’s team…And Demos is labeled the first Pelosi-Republican. Lee Zeldin has something money can’t buy: Integrity. He’s an Army Major, and tax-fighting State Senator who repealed the MTA Payroll Tax. And Lee Zeldin has never supported Obamacare and never will.
The attack hinges on Demos’ father-in-law, who is a prominent Democratic donor, but the former SEC prosecutor hasn’t taken any money from Pelosi or organizations tied to her political operation.
The state and local GOP establishment is backing Zeldin in the primary, but Demos has the support of former officeholders like George Pataki and Rudy Giuliani.
Apr 30th - 12:39 pm
A new radio ad from congressional candidate and state Sen. Lee Zeldin knocks — yet again — his Republican primary opponent George Demos for accepting money from California political donors.
The Demos campaign has vehemently denied the campaign has any ties to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi save for the candidate’s father-in-law being a prominent Democratic donor in California.
Demos has responded in radio ads of his own knocking Zeldin for drawing his family into the campaign.
In the ad released on Wednesday, Zeldin doubles down on the Pelosi claims, say his opponent’s “dishonest attacks” are funded almost entirely by “California Democats.”
And the ad also serves to highlight Zeldin’s own ties to the community.
“This Republican primary for Congress is all about what you know…and what you may not know,” the ad says. “You know Lee Zeldin, the only choice born and raised on long island. He’s a dedicated family man who protects our country as an Army Reserve Major. Lee Zeldin, as a state senator, successfully ended the job-killing MTA payroll tax for eighty percent of employers and reduced New York’s middle income tax rate to the lowest level in 60 years. And Lee Zeldin led the fight against Obamacare–which he’s NEVER supported, and never will.”
The primary between Zeldin and Demos has become unusually heated for a GOP primary, though it has its roots in a previous GOP primary in the NY-1 that saw Republican Chairman Ed Cox’s son Christopher Nixon Cox compete against Demos.
Republicans like former Gov. George Pataki and ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani endorsing Demos, but Zeldin has lined up the support of most the local and state party establishment.
The script is after the jump. More >
Mar 31st - 1:18 pm
US Sen. John McCain will headline a fundraiser in support of state Sen. Lee Zeldin’s congressional run on April 22 in New York City.
Tickets to the event is being held at a private residence on E. 70th Street in Manhattan (which happens to be the building where Christopher Cox, son of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, is listed. Ed Cox and his wife, Tricia, are listed as hosts). Tickets start at $1,000 and run as high as $5,200.
McCain, a senior senator from Arizona and the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, endorsed Zeldin last October, saying his “service in the military, as a federal prosecutor and in state government demonstrate his deep commitment to advancing causes greater than his own self-interest.”
Zeldin is seeking the GOP nod to challenge Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in November. He is being challenged for the GOP line by George Demos.
Mar 7th - 4:39 pm
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has bucked the GOP establishment in his endorsement of George Demos over Sen. Lee Zeldin in the battle for the right to face Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in NY-1 this fall.
In a statement released by the Demos campaign, Giuliani called the candidate “a fiscal conservative who says what he believes and believes what he says.”
“As a former prosecutor, he knows the good guys from the bad,” the former mayor continued. “He will rattle the cages of the establishment. He’ll make a difference. And George would never support Obamacare. His voice will be heard in the halls of Congress, and I predict, throughout America.”
“I am impressed with George, his passion, his intellect, and his integrity. I am proud to endorse his candidacy and prouder still to call him a friend. George Demos is one of us. And it’s time for George Demos for Congress.”
In backing Demos, Giuliani is not only at odds with the majority of Republican and Conservative leaders in NY-1, who have lined up behind Zeldin, but he’s also on the same side as former Gov. George Pataki – an early supporter of Demos, who worked for Pataki when he was in office.
Pataki and Giuliani have not always seen eye to eye over the years, either on politics or policy, though their relationship improved markedly after 9/11 and toward the end of the governor’s tenure in Albany.
The state GOP has been vehemently opposed to Demos’ candidacy (sometimes a little too vehemently). The party is very keen on putting forward a united front against Bishop, who came close to losing his seat in 2012 and continues to be the subject of an ethics investigation in connection with his campaign fundraising.
Division within the party – and between Republicans and Conservatives – has previously weakened candidates’ chances of unseating Bishop.
UPDATE: A knowledgable reader notes that Demos’ campaign is run by two consultants: Jake Menges and Rob Cole. Giuliani is longtime Menges client, Pataki a longtime Cole client. So, there’s a certain element of doing some political favors here that is worth noting.