Perry Gershon to face Congressman Lee Zeldin in midterms
Perry Gershon wins the Democratic Primary election held on Tuesday, June 26.

File photo

Perry Gershon to face Congressman Lee Zeldin in midterms



Voters in New York’s First Congressional District took to the polls Tuesday, ultimately choosing Perry Gershon, an East Hampton entrepreneur who works in commercial real estate, to face incumbent Republican Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) in November’s midterm elections. 

Gershon, 56, eked out a victory with 35.5 percent of the vote against four other candidates, which included former Suffolk County Legislators Kate Browning and Vivian Viloria-Fisher, as well as David Pechefsky and Elaine DiMasi.

Suffolk County Board of Elections released unofficial vote counts late Tuesday, showing Gershon receiving 7,226 votes; Browning, 6,159; Viloria-Fisher, 3,314; Pechefsky, 2,425, and DiMasi, 1,207.

Cheers and applause broke out just after 10 p.m. Tuesday as Gershon addressed his supporters at his campaign headquarters in East Setauket. “I’m somewhat speechless,” he said, as he thanked his volunteers, supporters, the party and his four opponents in the primary race. “We kept it clean. I love the fact that we kept the campaign positive and upbeat,” he said, calling for unity in the party as November’s election approaches. “We’re going to show unity in the Democratic Party and we’re going to beat Lee Zeldin. We’re going to show him on Thursday and we’re going to show him in November.” 

Tonight, June 28, Zeldin has planned a campaign fundraiser at the Smithtown Elks Lodge that will feature former White House press secretary Sean Spicer as a guest. Democrats have planned demonstrations outside of the event.

Gershon finished the race just ahead of former Legis. Kate Browning, who earned 30 percent of the vote. Joined by her supporters at Painters restaurant in Brookhaven Tuesday night, Browning thanked them while reminding everyone of a common Democratic goal. “I want to congratulate Perry Gershon on a hard-fought campaign,” she said. “The goal has been the same and doesn’t change. We need to beat Lee Zeldin and restore our voice in Washington, D.C.” 

On Wednesday morning, Zeldin for Congress released a statement reacting to the Democratic primary. “Congrats to Park Avenue Perry on buying his way into a general election,” the statement read. “With the limited number of votes Park Avenue Perry received today to get the Democratic Party nomination, voters were clearly unimpressed and unmotivated by the best options Democratic money can buy. The few Democrats who did decide to vote chose someone who sees this district as one that can be purchased. Park Avenue Perry will learn the rest of that lesson the hard way in November.”

Unofficial results from the Board of Elections show that 20,351 Democrats in the district voted Tuesday, a far cry from the 12,641 votes cast in the 2016 primary that pitted Anna Throne-Holst against Dave Calone.

Even early on, Gershon positioned himself fiscally to go toe to toe with Zeldin, out-fundraising all his Democratic opponents. According to a June 6 report from the Federal Election Commission, Gershon has raised $1,202,955 during the election cycle and ends the reporting period with $450,161 cash on hand. Rep. Zeldin has thus far raised $2,696,482 and ends the period with $1,546,035. 

In his speech, Gershon highlighted why he got involved in the race. “We’re tired of what’s going on in Washington. Voters want a change,” Gershon said. “That’s what I stand for and that’s why I decided to run.” Some of his top issues include a healthcare solution, protecting the environment and bringing manufacturing jobs to Suffolk County, he said. “That’s what people want, and that’s what people are going to vote for in November.”