NEW YORK – Lee Zeldin, who is in his second term as a New York State Senator, defeated George Demos in the 1st Congressional District’s Republican primary on June 24.
Zeldin will now try to unseat Congressman Tim Bishop in November.
“We fought the good fight but we came up short. I will always fight the good fight for the principles and values I believe in and I am grateful for the thousands of people who gave me their confidence and their vote,” Demos told TNH.
“If you believe in the conservative cause as passionately as I do, you have to put your hat in the ring and give it your best shot and we did that,” he said.
Newsday reported that Zeldin “won a bruising GOP congressional primary victory…surviving an aggressive $2 million campaign by challenger George Demos.”
According to Newsday “Zeldin was boosted by a get-out-the-vote effort by the county GOP committee. Zeldin also was backed by local and state GOP and Conservative leaders, and was endorsed by more than 60 local officials and several former presidential contenders, including Sen. John McCain.”
The turnout was reportedly very low – 15,000 compared with 24,000 in 2010 – with Zeldin presumably benefitting from support from his senate district.
November will be a rematch of 2008, when Bishop defeated him by more than 50,000 votes.
During the campaign Demos told News 12, “This is a classic race of a political outsider fighting the establishment, and we’re working very hard to get the support of people across Long Island for a real Conservative.”
Despite the support of former Governor George Pataki and New York City’s former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, however, the establishment pulled out all the stops to defeat the challenger.
Demos told TNH, “I am extremely grateful for the support of Greek-Americans across the nation who rallied to our cause.”
He especially appreciates the support of Peter Pappas Sr. and Jr. “from day one.”
Demos said “I will continue to be involved in things that are important to me, including my Church. I will be an advocate for my conservative political beliefs in some form, and work to help our Greek-American community.”
On the professional front, Demos, an attorney who was an SEC prosecutor from 2002 to 2009, told TNH “I am fortunate to have many opportunities which I look forward to exploring.”