Home News Local News It’s Zeldin vs. Demos in Republican primary election today

It’s Zeldin vs. Demos in Republican primary election today

Republicans in the First Congressional District will choose their candidate to challenge incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop in November’s general election.

State Senator Lee Zeldin, of Shirley, the Suffolk County Republican Committee’s designee, faces opponent George Demos, of Stony Brook, for the nomination.

Demos, 37, a lawyer formerly employed as an enforcement attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission and an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, sought the Republican nomination for the First District seat in 2010 and 2012. He came in second to Randy Altschuler in a three-way race in 2010. In 2012 he abruptly withdrew his challenge to Altschuler’s nomination on May 25, less than a month before the primary election — too late for his name to be taken off the ballot. He cited his “impending marriage” a week later as the reason for his decision to withdraw.

Zeldin, 34, also a lawyer, grew up in Suffolk County. He is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division. He ran an unsuccessful congressional campaign against Bishop in 2008, losing 58- to 42-percent. He then ran for State Senate in 2010, unseating Democratic incumbent Brian Foley in N.Y,’s Third Senate District. He was re-elected to the State Senate by a wide margin in 2012.

The two contenders have waged a bitterly fought primary campaign, a battle that’s continued to the end, with each candidate attempting to cast the other as having ties to Democrats.

Polls in the Republican primary election are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Find your polling place here.

Bishop, 64,  was a political newcomer when first elected to Congress in 2002. He unseated Republican incumbent Felix Grucci.

Since then, Bishop has beat back challenges five times, with only Altschuler coming close to victory — conceding on Dec. 8, 2010 when the tally had him trailing by 263 votes. In the end, Bishop won the race 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent. 

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.