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Jun 19, 2018 5:35 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Gershon Wins Democratic Primary; Zeldin Attacks City Roots

Perry Gershon
Jun 27, 2018 9:25 AM

UPDATE: Tuesday 10:40 p.m.

East Hampton resident Perry Gershon won Tuesday night's Democratic Party congressional primary in a crowded field that split the party's votes among five would-be challengers to U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin's seat on Capitol Hill.

With all votes from the polling places counted just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, Mr. Gershon had garnered about 35 percent of the vote and an approximately 1,100 vote lead over Kate Browning, a former Suffolk County legislator from Brookhaven Town. Ms. Browning earned about 30 percent of the vote. Another former county legislator, Vivian Viloria-Fisher, was a distant third with about 16 percent of the vote, followed by David Pechefsky and Elaine DiMasi.

“Tonight’s victory shows Suffolk County is energized and ready for change," Mr. Gershon said in declaring victory. "A year ago, I decided to run for Congress because I was fed up with career politicians, like our own Congressman, Lee Zeldin, who put special interests and partisan politics ahead of people."

Turnout for the primary was very high compared to the last Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District race. More than 21,000 Democrats cast ballots on Tuesday, nearly double the number that cast ballots in the 2016 Democratic primary for the same seat, which saw just over 12,000 votes cast for the two candidates, Anna Throne-Holst and David Calone—a total surpassed on Tuesday by Mr. Gershon and Ms. Browning alone.

That acrimonious race and the dissatisfaction it had left with the ultimate nominee among many Democrats loomed large over this years primary campaign, in which the candidates leveled almost no criticisms at one another and vocally pledged to support whoever of the five won the nomination.

Mr. Gershon, who has never held or run for elected office before, was the first candidate to declare his intentions to challenge Mr. Zeldin. A New York City businessman he switched his permanent residence to a vacation home he had owned in East Hampton for 20 years in order to run in the 1st Congressional District race.

He also outpaced the rest of the field in fundraising—in addition to loaning his own campaign huge sums of money.

In the most recent campaign fundraising disclosures, Mr. Gershon reported having raised more than $2.1 million, though he personally loaned more than $1 million to his own campaign. He has spent about $1.6 million on the primary race. Ms. Browning raised $490,000 and spent about $377,000. Mr. Pechefsky raised $235,000, Ms. Viloria-Fisher about $151,000, and Ms. DiMasi about $93,000.

Mr. Gershon will now enter what is certain to be a very costly campaign against Mr. Zeldin, a Republican from Shirley, who is seeking a third term representing the 1st Congressional District.

Mr. Gershon has made it clear during the primary race that he will challenge Mr. Zeldin on his allegiance to President Donald Trump and seek to rally voters who are unhappy with Trump administration policies. He has said his focus will be on improving health care and economic opportunity for Long Islanders.

In a statement released after the Democratic primary, Mr. Zeldin's camp made it clear that they will attack Mr. Gershon's New York City roots, repeatedly referring to him as "Park Avenue Perry."

"It's amazing that the Democratic Party was so desperate that they nominated a liberal Manhattan Democrat who has never even voted here in a November election for Congress," the Zeldin campaign's statement said. "Having just changed his residency into the district from Manhattan this past year, he has more in common with radicals like Bill DeBlasio and Nancy Pelosi than the residents of our Congressional District. The east end of Long Island is not NYC or San Francisco and to think otherwise proves just how out of touch Park Avenue Perry really is."

ORIGINAL STORY: Tuesday 6 a.m.

Democratic Party voters in eastern Suffolk County will go to the polls on Tuesday, June 26, to cast ballots in the party’s crowded congressional primary, to choose who will face U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin in the November election.

The race is almost certain to be an extremely tight one, if 
only by virtue of the fact that there are five candidates who are splitting the votes of a single party’s constituency.

Perry Gershon of Springs is competing against former Suffolk County legislators Kate Browning and Vivian Viloria-Fisher, Brookhaven National Laboratory scientist Elaine DiMasi, and former housing official David Pechefsky.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, and only registered Democrats may cast ballots.

The crowded field has not only made anointing a clear front-runner difficult, but it has also left the candidates searching for ways to separate themselves from the others, as they have largely agreed on most major policy issues like gun control, health care and immigration.

Mr. Pechefsky and Ms. Viloria-Fisher have tried to position themselves as the more progressive candidates who can energize younger voters with a platform of programs to help the working class.

Mr. Gershon and Ms. Browning have touted their more traditional political strengths: fundraising, in Mr. Gershon’s case—he’s raised more than $2 million for the primary—and name recognition in Ms. Browning’s. She’s won four elections to the County Legislature in the all-important Brookhaven region, which makes up more than half the total voters in the 1st Congressional District.

Ms. DiMasi has run on her scientific background and a platform that focuses on merging environmental improvements with job-creating industry on the East End.

All 435 House of Representatives seats are up for election in the fall, and both parties have cast winning the majority as a do-or-die situation for their respective ideological stances. Democrats have said that winning control of at least one house may be the only way to advance gun control and immigration reform legislation and to rein in President Donald Trump. Republicans, in turn, have raised the specter of impeachment by Democrats if the House majority were to swing.

For local party leaders, the most important step of the fight to unseat Mr. Zeldin will come after the primary ballots have been cast.

“We’re all united in our determination to support whichever candidate wins the primary,” said Betty Mazur, acting chairwoman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Party. “It’s all-important to defeat the incumbent congressman. He’s about as close to Trump as anybody could possibly be.”

Southampton Town Democratic Party Chairman Gordon Herr said that Democrats across the district have registered commitment to support whoever the nominee is—a nod to the divisive Democratic primary in 2016 that saw weak support among the party’s voters for its nominee then, Anna Throne-Holst.

“We have a tremendously energized Democratic voter base and unaffiliated voters who don’t like what’s going on in this country and Zeldin’s support of the things that Trump is doing,” Mr. Herr said. “If we can get those people out to vote, we’ll win.”

In the most recent campaign fundraising disclosures, Mr. Gershon reported having raised more than $2.1 million, though he personally loaned $600,000 to his own campaign, and has spent $1.6 million. Ms. Browning has raised $490,000 and spent about $377,000. Mr. Pechefsky has raised $235,000, Ms. Viloria-Fisher about $151,000, and Ms. DiMasi about $93,000.

Mr. Zeldin reports having about $1.5 million on hand for his re-election campaign.

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So its a race for 5 liberal losers who want to:
1. Raise your taxes
2. Strip you of your rights
3. Put illegal invaders before you
4. Think MS-13 just needs a hug
5. Hamas isn't that bad
6. Sink the economy
7. Make your kids slaves to the State
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jun 20, 18 8:04 AM
All that shrinks to insignificance next to Republicans locking up infants and children in cages at 800.00 per night.
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Jun 20, 18 9:33 AM
Maybe their idiot parents shouldn't break the law.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jun 21, 18 8:22 AM
2 members liked this comment
None of what you said is true. Try harder next time.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Jun 26, 18 9:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
"Never let ignorance get in the way of the facts," DJT.
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Jun 27, 18 5:26 AM
Preliator,grow up with your outlandish claims.you want Zeldin, nothing but a stooge for trump. Almost forgot, backed by that great American Bannon. Where do you get the foolish and ridiculous claim that democrats want to give ms-13 a hug? More of trumps deranged talking points. Get a grip.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jun 20, 18 8:23 AM
Vote Republican and Stop Illegals From Separating You From Your Tax Dollars
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jun 20, 18 8:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
"U.S. cruises toward record-breaking debt on Trump's watch"
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Jun 26, 18 3:56 PM
2 members liked this comment
The Democrat Party is irrelevant on the national stage
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 20, 18 9:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Democrat Party is becoming the single greatest threat to United States of America.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jun 21, 18 9:09 AM
2 members liked this comment
Time to get rid of spineless Zeldin and his rubber stamp for Trump's failed policies.
By eagleeye (82), Sag Harbor on Jun 20, 18 9:09 AM
Partidarios de Zeldin -- Por favor usa la puntuación y grammatical en ingles correctas. Tu ingles te avergüenza y me confunde.

The lake which many refer to as "Big Fresh Pond" prefers to be called Missapogue : )
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Jun 20, 18 9:41 AM
Good grief! Perry Geshon is a complete and utter fraud, an empty shirt with a fat wallet spouting Progressive buzz words and offering zero new ideas for anything!

Lee Zeldin,who sometimes seems more interested in what's going on in Israel than on Eastern Long Island, was elected well before Trump was even on the political landscape, beating six-term Pelosi acolyte Tim Bishop who ddid nothing for the 1st CD in his 12 years in office -- except follow Nancy Pelosi around like a puppy dog ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 20, 18 9:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
... where is it written that Gershon is gonna' win the primary?
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Jun 20, 18 11:04 AM
Keep drinking the cool-aid Frank
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jun 20, 18 10:25 AM
2 members liked this comment
Aw, Fred s, trying to run with the larger dogs, eh?

Not sure exactly what "cool-aid" {sic} you think I might be imbibing, but trying to stay with the flow here, and avoid non sequiturs.

Do some research on Tim Bishop and his shameful six terms of non-accomplishments, and his ill-disguised lock-step with Nancy Pelosi.

Then get back to us -- and look into Kool Aid along the way.

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 21, 18 12:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
Frank, Tim Bishop has done more for the people of the United States and CD 1, than all your posts in defense of Putin's boy Trump and his lackey Lee Zeldin.
By HamptonClassic (132), Southampton on Jun 23, 18 12:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
funny one. Tim Bishop was a fraud and one of the worst congressmen CD 1 has ever had
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jul 6, 18 10:56 AM
Somebody ask Trump’s Little Man Lee Zeldin if he support’s Trump’s kidnapping policy of taking little children away from their parents. Bet he does. Wonder how Little Lee would like being torn away from Daddy Donald. Bet he wouldn’t. Bet he’d cry, just like the other children.

Bottom line, any one of these five Dems should be able to beat Trump’s Little Man Lee in November.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 20, 18 11:01 AM
You're clearly out of sorts of late, TB -- never before have I seen one of your political Comments deleted that wasn't because of duplication.

You've let everyone know that you'e a dyed in the cotton duck Progressive Democrat (with portfolio in the Southampton Town Democratic organization, last I looked), but now you've surrendered any semblance of objectivity, and resorted to Trumpian name-calling. Please stop and re-consider your surprising descent into partisan hackery. (Or has someone ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 20, 18 11:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Perry Gershon worked for Ted Kennedy. Gershon chose to help a man who drunkenly drove off a bridge and allowed a young woman to drown, in an attempt to protect his own political prospects. Perry Gershon thinks that young woman's life was merely a speedbump on the road to electoral success for his bro. He must be a graduate of the Eric Schneiderman School of Women's Rights.

By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Jun 20, 18 11:06 AM
Now that's a stretch Moron... you voted for a guy who wants to bang his daughter and grab yours by the... MAGA!!
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Jun 26, 18 6:35 PM
You’d think he’d be a republican then. The way trump is such a spokesperson for women’s rights. Moron, you speak out of both sides of your mouth.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jun 20, 18 1:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
Not a chance TurkeyB. The Democrat Party has lost touch with working people and panders to the lunatic left, freestuffers and illegals Zeldin will beat any of the fools running now this freak show of a primary.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 20, 18 2:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
bigfresh, so your saying the lunatic right is relevant? Just read some off the comments on 27 east. A few low points, chim chim, bicycle seat sniffing Kenyan, Muslim president. That’s just a few I remember by your “ relevant “ right wing commentators. Oh , almost forgot the whole birther thing.the lies and half truths from this administration are completely crazy. So keep up the good work.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jun 20, 18 2:35 PM
I'm looking forward to voting for the True Democrat that can Win Perry Gershon.
By CleanWaters (80), Southampton on Jun 21, 18 7:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
Frank Wheeler and his very merry band of fools prove what Phineas Taylor Barnum said, so long ago, was correct. (Trump, lives by this rule, 3000 plus Lawsuits prove it). "There is one born every day, and two to take him!"

Sometime posting an answer to Trump supporter is like the old adage ...
Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are, the bird is going to defecate on the board and strut around like it won the game.
By SpeedRacer (160), Southampton on Jun 21, 18 10:21 PM
2 members liked this comment
“Money is, in some respects, like fire. It is a very excellent servant, but a terrible master.”

~ P.T. Barnum
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 21, 18 10:41 PM
Thank You Mr Z. The Republican controlled Supreme Court gave us Citizens United and proved P.T. Barnum Correct. We must elect a strong Democratic majority and put this Great Country of the people back as the leader of the Free World and not Putin's lackey. Vote for Perry Gershon in the Democratic Primary June 26 and in November. He can defeat the Neo Nazi Lee Zeldin .
By SpeedRacer (160), Southampton on Jun 23, 18 12:59 PM
More unhinged liberal ranting, Speedracer, thanks for helping to secure another term for Lee Zeldin
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 25, 18 6:41 AM
Be careful out there folks. Democrats have called for violence.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Jun 25, 18 6:45 AM
Democrats like who?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Jun 25, 18 7:48 AM
Even flow: you very nearly called for violence on the "Zeldin Says Families..." thread at 6:16am on June 26th. You wrote "Patriot call to arms: where you see Democrats - gather a crowd, push back and confront. The civil war has commenced. Good luck be well armed and be vigilant."

Please specify what Democrats have called for violence and quote what they said.
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Jun 26, 18 10:33 AM
2 members liked this comment
You people could run Jesus Christ himself and he wouldn’t beat Zeldin. Enjoy your exercise in futility suckers
Jun 26, 18 6:12 AM appended by even flow
God Bless The SCOTUS and their upholding of the Trump immigration ban
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Jun 26, 18 6:12 AM
Can’t someone at the press think about the children??? Lol just please ask Lee Zeldin about assault weapons, and locking kids up in cages, until he gives a real answer? Just don’t ask anything else. Don’t write any of his asinine press releases up about saving shellfish. Just ask about the health and safety of Holstein in America until he has an answer for you.
By Brandon Quinn (191), Hampton Bays on Jun 26, 18 11:35 AM
Perhaps we could present some pictures of MS-13 machete victims, and ask Democrats why they believe illegal immigrants have the right to be here. Perhaps you can answer. Should those entering the country illegally with children be allowed in? It's a simple question, can you answer it honestly? Are we allowed to control immigration, or do the rights of those coming here illegally trump ours?
By NateNewtown (99), east on Jun 26, 18 11:05 PM
What's wrong with keeping parents and children together throughout their detention, adjudication, and deportation?
Jun 27, 18 7:28 AM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
Nothing? Good.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Jun 27, 18 7:28 AM
Children in America? Idk what Holstein is lol my b
By Brandon Quinn (191), Hampton Bays on Jun 26, 18 11:36 AM
Browning will beat Zeldin if she wins the primary. She's tougher and smarter than Zeldin. Will get ugly and fun.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Jun 26, 18 6:33 PM
Shut up and vote for the white male financier, who by my calculations, spent about $3500 per primary vote he used to defeat 3 far more qualified female candidates. Surrender your principles and vote for him.

The cocktail party, third home, private jet to Aspen flavor of socialist will be well represented by Gershon.
By NateNewtown (99), east on Jun 26, 18 11:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
It costs at least 2 billion for a presidential campaign.

Where have you been?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 27, 18 5:32 AM
Perry Gershon is the best you can do? You deserve to loose to Zeldin looser Democrats. What was good about him? More commercials that was his qualifications? Loosers...
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Jun 27, 18 12:05 AM
Another unkempt, hapless ldemocrat destined for the museum of false hope. This is going to be fun.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jun 27, 18 4:54 AM
Lee Zeldin does not represent the values and the concerns held by true East Enders. He's no Bill Carney, no Otis Pike. No Tim Bishop. Say what you will, preferring to be a shill for The Donald over passionate for Eastern Long Island speaks volumes about Zeldin and his priorities.
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Jun 27, 18 5:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
News flash: Dim Tim wasn't a real east ender, just another liberal loser who destroyed a successful local institution, did what ever Nancy friggin Pelosi told him to do and some how became a millionaire on a fixed government salary.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jun 27, 18 7:00 AM
"True" East Enders? Do you mean those of us who live here year round and work for a living or are you alluding to the part time LIMOUSINE LIBERALS who come from the upper West Side?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 27, 18 5:42 AM
Park Avenue Perry paid $3,500 per vote. He is a Bill DeBlasio, Nancy Pelosi, Obama fan who has never lived here . This carpetbagger is high on higher taxes and open borders. This rich, NY, Anti-American progressive dem has NEVER voted on a single issue in NY-1. He has repeatedly referred to Trump rallies as Nazi rallies and Trump voters as Nazis. If you don’t want NY-1 to resemble NYC or San Francisco stay clear of this Park Avenue Perry. He supports the importation of MS-13 and the establishment ...more
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jun 27, 18 6:42 AM
Perry won...good now we know who to nuke on every social media platform he raises his little bald head.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jun 27, 18 6:58 AM
Good to see you guys building up the hate again. It's a shame there is no comprmise in this country anymore.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on Jun 27, 18 7:23 AM
It’s great that you keep repeating the same lies over and over again. One of you post an article that shows any democrat wants more ms-13.hey slime, remember Charlottesville? They were trump supporters, and the were nazis.one time one of you should tell the truth.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jun 27, 18 7:41 AM
Nancy Pelosi = Perry Gershon.
Open borders = Perry Gershon
More MS-13 = Perry Gershon
Higher Taxes = Perry Gershon
Increased Government Regulations = Perry Gershon
Worse Trade Deals = Perry Gershon
War in Korea = Perry Gershon
Spying on Citizens = Perry Gershon
More Money In Government = Perry Gershon
Less Representation for NY-1 and MORE for NYC = Perry Gershon
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Jun 27, 18 7:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Even flow=delusional
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jun 27, 18 9:37 AM
Perry Gershon received his MBA from UC Berkeley. That's all i need to know about him to not only vote for Zeldin again...but to maybe even help Zeldin by volunteering for his campaign. That's how much I despise that joke of a university that won't even as much let a conservative person near their campus, let alone let one attend and actually try and pass a course given by the 99.9% liberal professors. No thanks perry. I hope you get crushed!!!!!
By DiseaseDiocese (668), Riverhead on Jun 30, 18 12:59 AM
Where did you want him to go trump university?
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jun 30, 18 5:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hey diseased, one more thought.Do you really believe a conservative wouldn’t be admitted in UC Berkeley? Because the students protest the likes of Richard Spencer and Milo from speaking, that makes them bad? But carry on your nonsense, your good at it.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jun 30, 18 6:49 AM