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Jun 24, 2014 10:45 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Zeldin Defeats Demos In Republican Primary Election, Will Face Bishop In November

Jun 25, 2014 11:40 AM

After a vicious campaign rife with attack ads and mudslinging, State Senator Lee Zeldin defeated George Demos in Tuesday’s Republican primary election for the right to face U.S. Representative Tim Bishop this November.

After securing roughly 62 percent of the vote, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections, Mr. Zeldin of Shirley handily defeated Mr. Demos, a former prosecutor for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who lives in Stony Brook. Mr. Demos finished with 5,880 votes, or nearly 38 percent of all ballots cast. Mr. Zeldin finished with 9,654 votes, according to the unofficial results.

“I’m grateful for all our volunteers who knocked on thousands of doors to deliver our message to Republican voters in the 1st Congressional District,” Mr. Zeldin said Wednesday morning. “We have a lot of momentum coming out of the primary election, our campaign team is excited to speak to as many voters as we can throughout the 1st Congressional District during the summer and fall leading up to the general election.”

Mr. Demos’s campaign did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

Mr. Zeldin, who challenged Mr. Bishop in 2008, was nominated by the Suffolk County Republican Committee in February, but, despite party objections, Mr. Demos ran a largely self-funded campaign against Mr. Zeldin.

Despite outraising Mr. Demos, $674,160 to $293,625, as of June 4, Mr. Zeldin was massively outspent by his challenger, who invested $2 million into his own campaign. Mr. Demos had spent more than three times as much as Mr. Zeldin, with total expenditures of more than $1.9 million, compared to Mr. Zeldin’s $585,000, according to the Federal Election Commission’s website.

The arduous primary election has left Mr. Zeldin’s war chest depleted as he had $149,610 in cash on hand as of June 4—the last day of the second fiscal quarter—which pales in comparison to Mr. Bishop’s $808,778.

“Well, our opponent in the primary had quite the head start on us as well, and, at the end of the day, money didn’t decide the outcome,” Mr. Zeldin said. “It’s not a competition as to who has the most amount of money—these campaigns are most importantly an opportunity to discuss beliefs, ideologies and philosophies.”

Much of the primary campaign focused on the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, with Mr. Demos criticizing Mr. Zeldin for voting to fund the program at the state level by voting yes on the 2014 and 2015 state budgets. Both included provisions for the federally mandated program.

Westhampton Beach resident Joseph Donovan said because of Mr. Zeldin’s track record on Obamacare, he voted for Mr. Demos on Tuesday, as he believed Mr. Demos would be more likely to help repeal the law.

“I think it’s a tremendous burden on the American taxpayer,” Mr. Donovan said. “And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

Fred Bowman, who also lives in Westhampton Beach, said it was a toss-up for him because he didn’t think there was much of a difference between the candidates’ ideologies. But he ultimately picked Mr. Zeldin because the senator is an Army veteran, a graduate of William Floyd High School and, ultimately, a stronger candidate to run against Mr. Bishop.

“I think he’ll have a better chance of beating Bishop,” Mr. Bowman said. “And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”

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I'm George Demos, and I absolutely approve this message :D hehehehe
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Jun 25, 14 12:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
please let this be George's last try
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jun 25, 14 6:20 AM
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jun 25, 14 9:11 AM
Now we can only hope Zeldin can beat Bishop
By itsamazing (224), Southampton on Jun 25, 14 12:22 PM
3 members liked this comment
Let's see if George is a team player that truly cares about the district and conservative principles. Will he now get behind Mr. Zeldin to help take down the true enemy, Tim "Nancy Pelosi" Bishop, or does he engage only in primary activity against Republicans?
By Eamonn (17), East Hampton on Jun 25, 14 12:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
Demos has already started moving out of his apartment in Holbrook to head for California and work for Mrs. Pelosi.

If I were running Lee Zeldin's campaign, I wouldn't want him, or Rudy Giuliani or George Pataki "helping" my candidate!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 25, 14 1:46 PM
Bishop re elected in November no contest
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jun 25, 14 7:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Afraid so.
By Mr. Snerdley (397), Southampton on Jun 29, 14 11:36 AM