Zeldin tops Demos, will face Bishop this fall

State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.
State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

In the race to see who will face off against incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop, state Sen. Lee Zeldin has defeated George Demos in the Republican primary.

The results, with 99 percent of districts reporting:

Name Votes
Lee Zeldin  9624
George Demos  5841

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee executive director Kelly Ward released the following statement after the race was called: “After a brutal and expensive race to the right that drove both Republicans far outside the mainstream, Long Islanders now have a clear choice to make between Tim Bishop, a tireless fighter for his district who has the backs of hardworking families, or Lee Zeldin, who is completely out of touch and would stack the deck in favor of special interests at the expense of the middle class.”

Mr. Zeldin and Mr. Demos did not return requests for comment on Tuesday night.

Mr. Zeldin, 34, is a New York state senator who lives in Shirley with his wife and two children. He’s also an attorney who spent four years of active duty in the U.S. Army, where he was deployed to Iraq in 2006 as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. Since 2007, he has been a member of the Army Reserves and currently holds the rank of Major. He established his law practice in 2008.

Mr. Zeldin was elected to the state Senate in 2010, when the incumbent, Brian Foley, was the deciding vote in approving the MTA Payroll tax. Mr. Zeldin later voted against that measure, helping to overturn a large part of the tax.

Prior to running for state Senate, Mr. Zeldin opposed Mr. Bishop in 2008, his first run for public office, and Mr. Zeldin was defeated by a 58-42 percentage margin.

Mr. Zeldin has the support of the Suffolk County Republican Committee; Mr. Demos has launched a primary challenge.

Mr. Demos, 37, is an attorney who lives in Stony Brook with his wife and young son. He is a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Attorney, where he worked from 2002 to 2009 prosecuting corporate fraud cases.

He has run Republican primaries against the Republican committee designee in each of the last two Congress races, losing both times to Randy Altschuler.

In 2012, he announced that he was withdrawing from the race that May, though his name remained on the primary ballot.

Over the past several months, Mr. Demos has taken aim at the party candidate on one specific issue, stating that Mr. Zeldin voted to “fully fund Obamacare.”

Mr. Zeldin’s campaign responded by stating that “the insurance exchange in New York State is 100 percent federally funded and was created by Governor Cuomo unilaterally in April 2012 after the New York State Senate Republicans, including specifically Senator Zeldin, blocked the 2012 legislation to implement Obamacare.”