Familiar names are entering the race for New York's 1st Congressional District. Republican state Sen. Lee Zeldin, of Shirley, and George Demos, a Republican from Brookhaven Town who twice vied for the Republican nomination in this race, both announced recently they hope to challenge Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, next year.
Their announcements, within days of each other, come during a political firestorm in Washington, D.C. over the government shutdown.
Zeldin, an attorney, first challenged Bishop in 2008. Two years later, he unseated Democratic state Sen. Brian Foley, of Blue Point, and won re-election in 2012.
"Now it's time to shake up things in Washington," Zeldin said. "Aren't you tired of the way Washington is failing to represent us?" he said in a video posted on his website Monday.Demos, who lives in Brookhaven and has strong ties to Shelter Island, has twice entered the GOP primaries. In 2010, Randy Altschuler defeated both Demos and Christopher Cox — Richard Nixon's grandson — in the primary. Demos challenged Altschuler again in 2012, but dropped out of the race in May to focus on his upcoming nuptials, he said at the time.
"Tim Bishop is vulnerable at every level," Demos said on his website, adding that Bishop is being investigated on ethics charges and that "his voting record and legislative philosophy is widely out of touch with the vast majority of the citizens of Eastern Long Island."
In a statement issued on Monday, Bishop said, “I am focused on my job; my most important task right now is getting the government open and protecting our nation from defaulting on its credit at the hands of irresponsible and reckless members of the House of Representatives. When it comes time to campaign again, I will run against whomever is nominated to run against me.”
Born and raised in Shirley, Zeldin spent four years on Active Duty, serving as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne division in 2006. A year later, he returned to the area with his family, and he remains a major in the Reserves.
Zeldin represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes Hauppauge, Ronkonkoma, Patchogue, Medford, Bayport-Blue Point and portions of Sayville. The 1st Congressional District is comprised of most of the Town of Smithtown, and all of Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southampton, East Hampton, Southold, and Shelter Island.
Demos served as a United States Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement attorney from 2002 through 2009.
He filed the "Friends of George Demos" fundraising committee ahead of his announcement.