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Apr 17, 2018 7:04 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Five Democrats Will Face Off In June Primary, Looking To Challenge Representative Lee Zeldin

David Pehefsky.
Apr 17, 2018 3:55 PM

Five Suffolk County Democrats will face off in a June primary, with the top vote-getter winning the right to challenge U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin for New York’s 1st Congressional District seat in the November general election.

Perry Gershon, Kate Browning, Vivian Villoria-Fisher, Elaine DiMaisi and David Pechefsky all submitted petitions with the signatures of at least 1,250 registered Democrats supporting their candidacy before the filing deadline on Thursday, April 12. With none of the candidates having asked to be withdrawn, all five names are likely to be on the June 26 ballot.

A general objection to Mr. Gershon’s and Ms. Browning’s petitions was filed by an attorney who has worked for Mr. Pechefsky’s campaign, on behalf of an East Patchogue woman. The attorney will have six days to file specific objections to names on the petitions of the two candidates, who each submitted more than 1,000 signatures beyond the required minimum.

A court challenge to the candidacy of a candidate can be filed until April 26. The ballots will be certified on May 3, according to Suffolk County Board of Elections Commissioner Anita Katz.

In Suffolk County, there is no runoff in the event that one candidate does not receive a majority of votes cast—the Democratic nomination will go to whichever of the five candidates gets a simple plurality of the votes.

Mr. Zeldin also submitted his nominating petition to be the Republican candidate for a third term in office, and Patricia Latzman submitted the lone petition to be on the Working Families Party line.

Mr. Zeldin, who is from Brookhaven Town, cruised to an easy win in the 2016 election over former Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, who survived a tough primary battle. Democrats have been rallying to find a candidate who can unseat him in an election forecast to favor the Democratic Party because of dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump.

The race is sure to be an expensive one. In 2016, Ms. Throne-Host raised more than $3 million for the race, and Mr. Zeldin raised about $2.7 million. Mr. Zeldin started this campaign year with more than $1.3 million already in his war chest.

Mr. Gershon, an East Hampton resident, says he already has raised more than $1.4 million for the primary and general election campaigns—a number that campaign finance disclosures show includes at least $300,000 he has personally loaned his campaign fund. That makes him the top fundraiser on the Democratic side.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the momentum and energy building for my campaign from every part of the district,” Mr. Gershon​ said in a statement. “Long Islanders are fed up with Congressman Lee Zeldin and Donald Trump and ready for change. It’s time for a bold progressive who will stand up to Trump. In Congress, I’ll fight for Medicare for All, work for common-sense solutions to prevent gun violence, and always stand up for a woman’s right to choose. I’m ready to get to work and fight for what’s right.”

Ms. Browning, a former Suffolk County legislator, has said she has raised more than $360,000 thus far and has some $255,000 on hand.

“I am proud of the support I’ve received since announcing my candidacy,” Ms. Browning said in a statement issued by her campaign on Monday. “Our campaign continues to build a broad coalition of grassroots supporters, unions and elected officials who believe my blue-collar background and experience winning tough elections in a highly Republican district makes me the best candidate to beat Lee Zeldin.”

In federal disclosures at the end of last month, Mr. Pechefsky reported having raised about $236,000 thus far, Ms. Viloria-Fisher about $97,000, and Ms. DiMasi about $79,000.

The morning after the filing deadline, Center Moriches resident Brendon Henry announced that he was suspending his campaign for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Henry failed to secure the required 1,250 signatures supporting his candidacy by the deadline to get on the ballot.

“It came down to the wire, and we just ran out of time,” the longtime bartender at the Southampton Publick House and Buckley’s Inn Between in Hampton Bays, and co-founder of the annual Cabin Fever Music Festival, said in a message. “This isn’t the end, just a speed bump on the way to facilitate the change we want.”

In a statement sent to The Press, Mr. Henry said his campaign will support other candidates “of energy, intelligence and character” in the race and will push for the priorities of the working and middle class.

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Thanks for the warning.
By Po Boy (2771), Water Mill on Apr 12, 18 5:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
Pretty damn funny for a Republican.
Browning will win primary and figuratively torture Zeldin over his policies and relationships with Trump and Bannon. It will be humiliating but mercifully quick.
By harbor (366), East Hampton on Apr 12, 18 6:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
Would it be asking too much to place the candidates names into the captions section of their corresponding photos?...
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Apr 12, 18 9:45 PM
Brendon Henry has a promising future in public service. Though he was unable to get the necessary petition signatures in the limited time available, he made a strong and intelligent appeal to the voters on his first time out.

Mr. Henry says he wants to continue his efforts by supporting candidates who advocate for working people and the middle class as he does. He’s got it right; he should do that in this race and future races, and I wish him well.
By Turkey Bridge (1868), Quiogue on Apr 13, 18 5:29 PM
2 members liked this comment
Thank You for what???
By knitter (1484), Southampton on Apr 13, 18 7:46 PM
I am hoping that 27east changes the policy for anonymous posts before the November elections so that committee members will have to disclose who they are when they post.
By G.A.Lombardi (207), Hampton Bays on Apr 14, 18 11:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
Turkey Bridge, time for a reality check concerning Brendon Henry, a personable fellow with no clue, no organization, no funds regarding a political campaign.

He had the same "limited time to gather signatures" as did the other five candidates- all having met the required and beyond the numbers, signatures to get on the ballot.

Furthermore, if you check out his Facebook, he praises his support team- Camden Ackerman and Brian Tymann- both Pro Hills advocates-- so glad Brendon revealed ...more
By HamptonClassic (69), Southampton on Apr 14, 18 11:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
The political opinions that come out of Buckleys is one step up from the political nonsense that comes from Molnars. Lucky for Buckley's they have good burgers.
By HB Proud (879), Hampton Bays on Apr 14, 18 11:51 AM
It’s a rare day when I agree with anyone named G.A. Lombardi but I do today. I am opposed to anonymous posts. Anonymous posts are the lifeblood of cowards.
JOE SHAW, CLOSE DOWN THE PSEUDONYMS (fake names)!
By Bruce Doscher (9), Hampton Bays on Apr 14, 18 12:28 PM
2 members liked this comment
It’s a rare day when I agree with anyone named G.A. Lombardi but I do today. I am opposed to anonymous posts. Anonymous posts are the lifeblood of cowards.
JOE SHAW, CLOSE DOWN THE PSEUDONYMS (fake names)!
By Bruce Doscher (9), Hampton Bays on Apr 14, 18 12:29 PM
I don't think it is so rare there Bruce, but thanks.
By G.A.Lombardi (207), Hampton Bays on Apr 14, 18 1:13 PM
Lee Zeldin wins re-election in a landslide! On the national level the Democrat Party has gone so far to the left that they seemingly only represent the lunatic fringe.
By bigfresh (3755), north sea on Apr 14, 18 5:16 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SpeedRacer (115), Southampton on Apr 14, 18 6:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thanks Speed, you just proved my point that the Democrat Party only represents the lunatic fringe. Steve Bannon and the Neo Nazis, Our President "installed" by Putin and the Russian oligarchy, truly lunatic rantings.
By bigfresh (3755), north sea on Apr 15, 18 1:35 PM
Still languishing in ignorance of the facts.
By June Bug (2160), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 15, 18 1:56 PM
bigfresh Denial is not a River in Egypt. Mark Twain(?)
By SpeedRacer (115), Southampton on Apr 15, 18 2:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
G.A.Lombardi,

Point well taken, but I think the message is more important than the messenger.November is approaching at full speed, and it is important that the voters know who the candidates are.
It is crucial that in CD1, we remove Lee Zeldin, candidate of the Neo Nazi Party, and replace him with a true life-long Democrat.
Going into the June 26 Democratic Primary, we have to select the one true Democrat who can defeat Zeldin-- PERRY GERSHON !
The other candidates running ...more
By HamptonClassic (69), Southampton on Apr 15, 18 12:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
HC, You are entitled to your opinion but not to judge whether I am informed or not. The only party I belong to is the United Party of Hampton Bays.
By G.A.Lombardi (207), Hampton Bays on Apr 16, 18 6:05 AM
Thanks for jumping in JuneZ. You are the icing on the cake
By bigfresh (3755), north sea on Apr 15, 18 3:31 PM
David Pechefsky, a Brooklyn Green Party candidate who ran and lost an election in New York City, thinks he can bully his way into CD1. Pechefsky switched to become a Democrat, like ATH, Brad and Jay and moved to the District. Because he could not get as many signatures as Browning, Gershon, Fisher and even DiMasi, he is challenging others. Maybe if he would have worked harder, he might have done better. After all, CD1 isn't Brooklyn.
By SpeedRacer (115), Southampton on Apr 19, 18 1:48 PM