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Oct 10, 2017 5:20 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Man Who Wants To Challenge Zeldin Says He Has Raised More Than $400K

Oct 10, 2017 5:47 PM

East Hampton Democrat Perry Gershon said that in only two and a half months he has raised more than $411,000 to fund his first-ever run for elective office, challenging U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin next fall. That figure could not be immediately verified with the Federal Election Commission.

The Republican incumbent, meanwhile, has $762,249.93 in cash on hand for the 2018 general election, though his campaign, Zeldin for Congress, has raised that over the last two fundraising quarters, according to federal records.

Mr. Gershon, the chief investment officer at Jefferies LoanCore LLC and who has owned a house in East Hampton for 20 years, said this week that he has spent most of his first campaign traveling across the 1st District, which includes both the North and South Forks and extends as far west as Smithtown, to meet and hear from potential voters.

“I’ve put 6,000 miles on my Chevrolet Volt in the last three months,” said Mr. Gershon on Friday.

His campaign manager, Brad Pyle, said this week that Mr. Gershon has raised $411,414.03 in donations thus far.

Mr. Pyle also confirmed that the largest contribution Mr. Gershon received thus far amounts to $5,400. According to the FEC, the legal maximum that one person can contribute per election is $2,700. Therefore, Mr. Gershon can use only $2,700 of that $5,400 contribution now, and must wait to spend the other $2,700 until next year’s general election—if he makes it that far.

That’s because several other potential candidates, including Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning of Mastic, are considering similar bids to unseat Mr. Zeldin next fall—strongly suggesting that whoever wins the Democratic Party nomination would most likely first have to survive a primary election.

If he ends up being the Democratic candidate, Mr. Gershon said he realized he would need all the financial backing he can get to take on Mr. Zeldin. The incumbent won reelection for the first time in 2016—he was first elected in 2014—and already has well-oiled fundraising machinery in place.

“Any challenger to an incumbent has a built-in handicap,” Mr. Gershon said.

Mr. Gershon’s fundraising acumen has attracted the attention of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, members of which Mr. Gershon will meet with when he travels to Washington, D.C., later this week.

If he continues to advance, Mr. Gershon will likely face a crowded primary field for Democrats. Announced candidates so far include: Vivian Viloria-Fisher, a former Suffolk County legislator from East Setauket; Elaine DiMasi, a former physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory who lives in Ronkonkoma; Brendon Henry, a bartender from Center Moriches; and David Pechefsky, a New York City Council staffer who currently lives in Brooklyn but plans to move to the district.

Ms. Browning, who recently changed her party affiliation from Working Families to Democrat, intends to announce her intentions later this week, but might be more likely to run now that her friend, Independence Party member State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. of Sag Harbor, has opted out.

Though memories of the brutal and expensive 2016 primary between Democrats Anna Throne-Holst and David Calone must linger in every challenger’s mind, Mr. Gershon is staying positive in the light of his upcoming competition. “I think it’s important to keep the level of conversation aboveboard,” he said. “I personally am running a positive race.”

Mr. Gershon added that the introduction of any possible new candidate into the race, including Ms. Browning, would not sway him from his congressional goal. “I have no plans to drop out,” he said. “I am committed to winning.”

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Yes! Gershon, a NYC financeer, along with his attorney/campaign manager who has a strong record of advocacy for illegal aliens would be a great challenger to Lee Zeldin! LOL!

By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Oct 12, 17 1:36 PM
Please note that there’s a whole row of people lined up to challenge Lee Zeldin. Why do you think that is?

I say it’s because of general outrage at Zeldin’s unwavering support of the unhinged Donald Trump, and also because of boneheaded things that Zeldin’s done entirely on his own. This is a mixed congressional district, but The Honorable Lee acts as if it were deep red, backing hard-right policies on immigration and women’s rights, among other things.

So ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on Oct 15, 17 10:23 AM
Sorry TB, you are totally out of touch with the reality of the 1st Congressional District, Lee has been a steadfast bulwark against big government run amok.
By bigfresh (4593), north sea on Oct 15, 17 11:04 AM
I love how he stresses the Chevy volt. He actually purchased a car the other day and told the sales rep that his M5 is parked in his garage until after the election and he misses it terribly. What a fake!
By Oompah100 (1), Smithtown on May 23, 18 5:25 PM
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