NFIB Goes With Zeldin

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.

Demos Ties Cantor’s Loss To Zeldin (Updated)

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.”

Cantor To Fundraise For Zeldin


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.

Zeldin Knocks His ‘Pelosi Republican’ Opponent

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.

Zeldin Radio Ad Knocks California Campaign Donations To Demos

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 >

McCain To Headline Zeldin Fundraiser

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.

Giuliani Joins Pataki In Backing Demos Over Zeldin (Updated)

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.

Zeldin To Address CPAC

Republican Congressional candidate Lee Zeldin will appear at the marquee national conservative confab CPAC next week, his campaign announced.

Zeldin, a Suffolk County state senator, is running for the First Congressional District seat held by Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.

CPAC will be held by March 6 through March 8 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington D.C.

He’s competing in an increasingly heated primary battle against former SEC prosecutor George Demos, who has pointed to Zeldin’s approval of state budget bills that included federal funding for the implementation of Obamacare.

Zeldin has pushed back strongly against the implication he’s backing the federal health care law, as have his supporters like Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long.

“To be recognized by the nation’s largest conservative organization is an incredible honor,” Zeldin said in a statement. “CPAC offers a rare opportunity to come together with the most influential conservative minds in America, and share our vision for the direction of our country. America’s next generation of conservative leaders are stepping forward with a significant devotion and passion for our nation’s core values: liberty, personal responsibility, constitutional rights and a strong national defense.”

In TV Ad, NRCC Blasts Bishop

As a protracted and increasingly heated Republican primary contest continues in the first Congressional District, the national GOP is slamming incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop.

In a TV ad unveiled on Thursday, the National Republican Campaign Committee returns to the ethics controversy surrounding Bishop’s efforts on behalf of a constituent to secure a fireworks permit and a subsequent campaign contribution.

Bishop, who was investigated by the House Ethics Committee over the matter, donated the contribution to charity.

Still, Republicans have repeatedly knocked the Suffolk County Democrat over the incident.

Sen. Lee Zeldin and former SEC prosecutor George Demos are the Republicans vying for the nomination to take on Bishop in the June congressional primary.

Here is the ad’s script:

Here’s the story on Tim Bishop: Bishop agreed to help a constituent obtain government permits. Then days later asked for thousands in cash. Bishop did the favor, then got the cash. FBI agents have investigated Bishop’s actions. An ethics panel found substantial reason to believe he committed a crime. Corruption, federal investigations. Tim Bishop’s everything that is wrong with Washington.

Zeldin Campaign Hits Back At Demos On Obamacare (Updated)

A web ad released this morning from the Congressional campaign of Republican Lee Zeldin is blasting primary opponent George Demos for attempting to tie the state lawmaker to funding for Obamacare.

Demos has been knocking both Zeldin and Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop for the federal health care law in both TV and radio ads.

But Demos has singled out Zeldin for approving state budgets that included federal pass-through money to implement the law in New York.

The strategy has angered Zeldin supporters, who have called the Demos claims a “lie.” Indeed, the claims have gotten so heated that a spokesman for the state GOP compared Demos to genital herpes, which led to a quick apology.

Now in a YouTube video Tuesday morning, Zeldin is referred to as a staunch opponent of Obamacare and “conservative Republican.”

“Lee Zeldin has never and will never support Obamacare. The ads are nothing more than shameful attempts to deceive voters, representing the absolute worst in politics,” said Zeldin campaign manager Chapin Fay. “Our campaign is based on honor and integrity and we are confident that the voters in the First Congressional District will see through the lies and stand behind the only honest, proven, principled candidate, Senator Lee Zeldin.”

Update: The Demos campaign responded in a statement, and makes a reference to the STD-comment from last week.

“The Zeldin campaign has launched another personally negative assault at George Demos. Getting beyond that teenage name calling, they make one substantive denial of fact. They state that Lee Zeldin opposes Obamacare. If that is true, then why did the State Senator Zeldin vote on March 27, 2013, to federally fund the Obamacare exchange in New York State? That’s a fact. Indisputable. And name calling and mud slinging doesn’t make it so. Why doesn’t the State Senator Zeldin simply admit he voted for the exchange? After all it’s printed in New York State Senate bill S2600E-2013.”