May 6th - 2:44 pm
The email subject line from Democratic congressional candidate Anna Throne-Holst’s press release was to the point: “Anna Throne-Holst Responds to Lee Zeldin endorsing racist Donald Trump.”
And with that, a preview was given of what to expect in closely waged congressional races with Trump at the top of the Republican ticket this fall.
Zeldin, a Republican first elected in 2014, is defending his battleground congressional district on eastern Long Island this year, with two Democrats vying for the nomination: Throne-Holst and Dave Calone.
In her statement, Throne-Holst blasted Zeldin for the Trump endorsement, linking him to comments made by controversial New York businessman on women.
“Yesterday current Congressman Lee Zeldin endorsed Donald Trump stating the reason for doing so is because “Trump received 73% of the vote in the Republican Primary” — making it clear to voters in NY-01 there is no line Lee Zeldin won’t cross trying to hold on to his seat, including throwing his support behind a racist mysogynist because he thinks it will help his political career,” she said.
No all members of the House delegation are on the Trump Train just yet: Rep. John Katko, a Republican running for re-election in central New York, took a cue from House Speaker Paul Ryan and declined to endorse Trump at this point in the race.
Jan 18th - 2:17 pm
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand became the latest Democrat on Monday to endorse former Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst in the race for the 1st congressional district on Long Island.
The Suffolk County House district is considered a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats this fall after freshman Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin in 2014 ousted incumbent Tim Bishop.
“Throughout her career as Southampton Town Supervisor, as a mother and as an educator Anna Throne-Holst has dedicated herself to helping create more opportunities for New Yorkers,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “Whether it was founding a school, running a child care center or serving as Town Supervisor, Anna has a record of fighting for families and helping those who need it most. Her commitment to creating more opportunities for others and her dedication to helping New York families is why I’m endorsing Anna Throne-Holst, who I know will be a tireless fighter for her constituents in Congress.”
Previously, Throne-Holst was given nod by prominent Democrats such as House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, retiring Rep. Steve Israel, Rep. Joe Crowley, Kathleen Rice and Carolyn Maloney.
She does face a primary challenger from Dave Calone this June for the party’s formal nod to run in the fall.
Oct 15th - 11:37 am
Freshman Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin’s re-election campaign on Thursday announced it had raised $601,007 in the third fundraising quarter and has $1.2 million in cash on hand to defend what has been a battleground House district on Long Island.
“While Congressman Zeldin is grateful for all of the support and encouragement he receives every day, most importantly from constituents, his primary focus remains on being one of the hardest working elected officials around, fighting effectively hard to be his constituents’ voice on critical local and national issues,” said Zeldin spokeswoman Jennifer DiSiena. “That is where the Congressman’s main effort has been directed and will remain during his time in office.”
A political action committee that has been working in support of Zeldin, LEEPAC, has $15,500, while Zeldin for Congeress has raised $585,507.
Zeldin last year defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in the first congressional district in what was a handful of closely watched battleground House races around the state in 2014.
Two Democrats are vying for the nomination to take on Zeldin next year: David Calone and Anna Thorne-Holst.
Oct 24th - 12:54 pm
American Action Network, a conservative 501(c)4 run by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman that is involved in several of new York’s hotly contested House races, has released its second TV ad of this cycle targeting Long Island Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, who is in a tight race with his GOP challenger, state Sen. Lee Zeldin.
The ad, called “The Game,” slams the veteran congressman for being under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for a pay-to-play fundraising scheme involving a constituent and also for paying his daughter more than $500,000 worth of campaign cash for fund-raising work since he took office in 2002.
““Tim Bishop has played Long Islanders for fools with his pay-to-play scandal and family cash ring,” said Emily Davis, spokeswoman for American Action Network. “Long Island families deserve better than a corrupt politician like Tim Bishop who even tried to mislead them about the fact that he’s still under investigation.”
The Republicans used the “daughter on the campaign payroll” attack against Bishop in the 2012 campaign, too. Bishop ended up winning that race handily, defeating his GOP opponent, businessman Randy Altschuler, who came considerably closer to defeating the congressman when he ran for the first time in 2010.
A September Siena poll showed Bishop 10 percentage points ahead of Zeldin, but as Election Day approaches, Democrats are stepping up their efforts to protect the congressman. Yesterday, former President Clinton headlined a rally on Bishop’s behalf, lashing out against “ideological extremism” in Washington, D.C. Zeldin responded to the former president’s appearnce by deriding Bishop as a “rubber stamp for the Obama/Pelosi agenda.”
This ad will run as part of AAN’s existing $1.5 million independent expenditure cable TV, online and mail campaign. The organization’s first ad – “Damn Good Idea” – has aired on cable TV since September 30. The AAN is also up on the air in NY-18 with an ad targeting Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.
Here’s the script for the AAN NY-1 ad:
Announcer: “Politicians get a bad name because of back room dealers like Tim Bishop.”
“He paid his daughter half a million bucks for helping him collect checks. Bishop shook down a constituent for campaign cash. When a Long Islander needed a favor, Tim Bishop delivered but solicited $10,000 in return The Post called it a bribe. He’s under investigation. But that’s how Bishop plays the game. And why we would be better off without him in Congress.”
American Action Network is responsible for the content of this advertising.
Oct 21st - 1:18 pm
The Democrats are bringing out the biggest gun they’ve got – former President Bill Clinton – to shore up veteran Long Island Rep. Tim Bishop as Election Day looms.
Clinton will headline a rally for Bishop at 5 p.m. tomorrow at The Staller Center at Stony Brook University along with DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, who has a lot riding on this race, since it’s taking place in his backyard.
The Republicans have been trying to dislodge Bishop for several cycles now, and haven’t yet managed to oust him, despite the fact that his fundraising remains under investigation by the House ethics committee. The congressman is again a top target this fall, and he’s facing a challenge from GOP state Sen. Lee Zeldin.
A Siena poll released early last month found Bishop leading Zeldin by 10 percentage points – a spread the senator’s campaign disputed. The race must be tightening according to the Democrats’ internal numbers, however, or they wouldn’t bother deploying Clinton this far out from the Nov. 4 election.
A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg Center poll found that of all the big name Democrats, a nod from Bill Clinton moves voters like no one else – and even he can’t influence a race that much.
An endorsement from the former president makes 38 percent of voters think more favorably about a candidate, the poll found, and 24 percent of voters think less favorably. Former First Lady/Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton was right behind her husband, with 34 percent saying they would view a candidate more favorably if she bestowed her endorsement upon him or her.
A number of big names on both sides of the aisle have been making appearances on behalf of statewide and congressional candidates in recent weeks.
Just yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden headlined a rally at the airport in Syracuse in support of Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei, who faces a tough challenge from Republican John Katko in NY-24. Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino has received in-person support from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, along with statements and/or email appears from former Massachusetts Governor/presidential candidate Mitt Romney and US Senator/former presidential candidate John McCain.
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.”