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Aug 1, 2017 3:55 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Man Enters Bid To Unseat Zeldin

Aug 1, 2017 4:33 PM

With some 16 months to go before the midterm congressional elections, the Democratic Party in Suffolk County already has two declared candidates to challenge U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin for the 1st Congressional District seat, and a third, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who confirmed last week that he is seriously considering a run.

The latest contender to make his campaign official is another South Fork resident: Perry Gershon, an East Hampton homeowner, who says he has already raised nearly $200,000 for his run.

Mr. Gershon, a New York City native who has owned a house in East Hampton for 20 years and recently settled there, says he thinks that in the wake of the Donald Trump victory and Republican gains in the Senate in 2016, the Democratic Party needs to reaffirm to voters in 2018 that it is the party that represents working-class Americans’ interests.

He says Mr. Zeldin’s representation of the 1st District is one of the places where a disconnect of voter perceptions about who best reflects their values is greatest.

“Here is a politician who does not stand for the values of his district,” Mr. Gershon said in an interview this week. “He’s someone who should not be in office, and I think I can offer an agenda more in the voters’ interests.”

Mr. Gershon, a Yale grad who opened and ran the Upper East Side sports bar Polo Grounds before going on to business school and a career in real estate finance, said that he will campaign on a platform focused on environmental improvement and better use of Long Island’s innovative resources to help build the region’s manufacturing economy.

Stony Brook University researchers are a major resource of technological advancement, he said, but much of what they conceive is ultimately developed or manufactured elsewhere off Long Island. That is something the region should change, the candidate said.

“We need to do a better job of harvesting what comes out of these research centers and using it to create business here on Long Island,” Mr. Gershon said. “There is no reason that a great idea that comes out of Stony Brook should turn into jobs in New Jersey or New York City and not here.”

Likewise, he said that he will challenge Mr. Zeldin’s environmental record, which he says is weak in a district where addressing water quality has repeatedly been found to be a top priority for voters.

Suffolk County Democrats are wary of another primary battle in 2018, especially one that proves as divisive to the party’s voters, and expensive to its candidates, as the neck-and-neck struggle between Anna Throne-Holst and David Calone did in 2016. Mr. Gershon said he does not want to see such an ugly internecine contest, if there is a primary in the offing.

The other candidate thus far actively pursuing the nomination is former Suffolk County legislator and presiding officer of the legislature, Vivian Viloria-Fisher. Mr. Thiele, who would have to forgo another run for the State Assembly seat he has held for 22 years, is registered with the Independence Party but said he would seek the Democratic nomination if he chose to run for the House seat.

With a hefty war chest and more than 2,000 miles logged on his car’s odometer in the last two weeks, Mr. Gershon, a political newcomer, says he is already well along building what will be the foundation of his grass-roots campaign: meeting 1st District residents face-to-face.

“I’ve started early, I’m working hard at it, I’m meeting people,” he said. “All I can do is spend time, and if I do, and I stay positive, I think people will like me.”

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He's not Congressional material, one look tells you that......Next up!
By The Crow's Nest (65), Red Creek on Aug 4, 17 10:18 AM
Probably another Hillary Clinton supporter who can't stop crying over her Major Lost to Donald Trump.. Go back to NYC and stay there. Oh wait better yet go to Chappaqua and Supply Hillary with some more tissues.. she might be out of them..
By Tomjulie (43), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 17 11:00 AM
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