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Bridget Fleming announces bid for Congress to challenge Zeldin

11/27/2019 5:51 AM |

County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Southampton) announced Tuesday that she is seeking to unseat Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley).

Ms. Fleming was reelected Nov. 5 to her seat as County Legislator for the Second District that includes Shelter Island and the South Fork. She made no indication at the time of an intention to run for Congress. But just weeks later, she released an announcement to backers, and a notice on her website, that she believes she is the best candidate to take on the two-term incumbent.

There are already three others seeking to unseat Mr. Zeldin in the 1st Congressional District: Perry Gershon (D-East Hampton), who came within four percentage points of beating the incumbent congressman in 2018; Nancy Goroff (D-East Setauket); and David Gokhshtein (I-New York).

“Lee Zeldin has spent more time joining those who are circling their wagons around President Trump than he has looking out for your every day concerns,” Ms. Fleming said in an email sent to potential campaign contributors.

She stressed that the candidacy is not about her but about the needs of small business owners working hard to make rent; teachers molding future generations; veterans who need help navigating the bureaucracy of the Veterans Administration; construction workers wondering if they’ll have jobs next month; college students worried about their mounting tuition debts; seniors concerned with rising health care costs; and homeowners concerned that climate change will rob them of their beautiful beaches.

“I’m going to be your champion,” Ms. Fleming said. “For too long our district’s been without one,” she said.

Mr. Gershon, an entrepreneur and businessman, emerged from a pack of some 10 candidates to carry the Democratic banner in the 2018 race. Although he officially announced his candidacy in April for the 2020 race, he really never stopped campaigning when the 2018 election was over and has remained a constant critic of Mr. Zeldin.

He is campaigning on a platform promising to fight for good jobs, affordable health care, high quality education, clean air and water and repeal of the cap on SALT deductions.  He wants to see the cap on federal tax deductions removed.

Ms. Goroff is a scientist and chair of the chemistry department at Stony Brook University. She’s a strong advocate for fighting climate change effects she has said are hurting “the place we love and the people we care about.”

She wants to make solar energy more affordable and attainable. During her tenure as chairwoman she said the university received more than $22 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund two Energy Frontier Research Centers to develop new batteries for energy storage. Increasing renewable energy production and storage is vital to combating climate change, Ms. Goroff said.

She wants to make the area affordable for college graduates to return and find good paying jobs and reasonably priced housing here.

Mr. Gokhshtein, who plans a run on the Independence Party ticket, operates a multi-platform marketing company that includes Gokhshtein Magazine, an online subscription focused on fintech project reviews — computer programs and technology used to support banking and financial services; tech reviews; travel; insight; and lifestyle pieces.

He’s a member of the Forbes Finance Council and a contributing writer for Forbes Magazine. He hasn’t yet put out statements on issues.

The primary election is scheduled for June 23.

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