Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Republican Eyes Hamptons House Seat (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The candidate: Republican state Sen. Lee Zeldin
The member: Six-term Rep. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y.
The district: New York’s 1st District. It covers the eastern half of Long Island, encompassing both working-class regions and the tony Hamptons. Bishop won re-election in 2012 by 5 points, as President Barack Obama carried the district by 1 point.
The candidate’s team: Brabender Cox (media); John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates (polling); Majority Strategies (direct mail); Chapin Fay (campaign manager).

New York’s 1st District voters may feel a bit of déjá vu this year — again.

After two straight defeats of Republican businessman Randy Altschuler, Rep. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y., could face another former Republican foe in 2014.

State Sen. Lee Zeldin challenged Bishop in 2008, losing by a 16-point margin. At the time, he was a 28-year-old political neophyte. Now, after serving in the state Senate, Zeldin says 2014 is a different ballgame.

“The environment was very different,” Zeldin said of his loss to Bishop. “There was a lot of stuff out of our control in 2008. President Obama was the man, coming into office, very popular. There was a little bit of fatigue with regards to the economy and Iraq and President Bush.”

He added, “For me as a candidate, I feel like I’ve grown a lot.”

Before Zeldin can face off against Bishop again, he must first defeat Republican attorney George Demos, who has also run for this seat before and shown a willingess to self-fund. Demos invested $1 million of his own money in the fourth quarter and ended the year with more than $2 million on hand. Zeldin had $307,000 as of Dec. 31.

When asked how he can compete with Demos’ financial advantage, Zeldin stressed that his campaign would focus on door knocking, online and print advertising, and social media. He added that he was prepared to go on TV to win the nomination. The primary is  June 24.

National Republicans are closely watching the race, which is rated Leans Democratic by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

This video interview series questions the scores of congressional hopefuls who visit the CQ Roll Call offices each cycle. Responses and questions have been edited and condensed. Have a question for a candidate? Follow us at @RollCallPols to learn about upcoming interviews.

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