Lee Zeldin

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Lee Zeldin
Lee Zeldin official congressional photo.jpg
U.S. House, New York, District 1
In office
January 3, 2015 - Present
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 0
PredecessorTim Bishop (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
Cost per vote$19.29 in 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2014
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$3,659,127
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
New York Senate District 3
2011 - January 1, 2015
Bachelor'sUniversity at Albany
J.D.Albany Law School
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service2003-2007
Service branchUnited States Army Reserves
Years of service2007-2009
Date of birthJanuary 30, 1980
Office website
Campaign website
Lee Zeldin campaign logo
Lee M. Zeldin (b. January 30, 1980) is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York's 1st Congressional District. Zeldin was first elected to the House in 2014 and is currently serving his first term.

Zeldin won the Republican and Conservative Party nominations in the primary on June 24, 2014.[1] He went on to defeat incumbent Tim Bishop (D) in the general election on November 4, 2014.[2]

Zeldin was previously a Republican member of the New York State Senate, representing District 3 from 2010 to January 1, 2015.


Zeldin earned his bachelor's degree in political science from the State University of New York at Albany and his J.D. from Albany Law School. His professional experience includes practicing law at Raiser and Kenniff. Zeldin is currently a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Upon graduating from law school, he received a commission in the Army ROTC as a second lieutenant serving with the Military Intelligence Corps. In 2004, he transitioned to the Judge Advocate General's Corps working as a Federal Prosecutor in the 82nd Airborne Division. In 2006, he was deployed with a paratrooper division to Iraq as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After he returned, he ran for U.S. Congress in 2008 unsuccessfully.


Below is an abbreviated outline of Zeldin's academic, professional and political career:[3]

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Zeldin serves on the following committees:[4]

New York State Senate


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Zeldin served on the following committees:


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Zeldin served on these committees:


Lee Zeldin discussing his key principles[5]


In March 2011, Zeldin secured repeal of the saltwater fishing license fee.[6]

In April 2014, Zeldin assisted in securing funding in the 2014-2015 state budget for the continuation and expansion of the PFC Joseph Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Veterans Support program.[7]

Campaign themes


Zeldin listed the following issues, among others, on his campaign website:[8]

  • Fighting for Our Families: In Washington, D.C., our elected leaders must do more to help create jobs, by eliminating costly mandates, simplifying our complex tax code, reducing burdensome tax rates, and cutting wasteful government spending to lower our nation’s deficits.
  • Shrinking Government: It has been said that a government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have. And today our bloated federal government is so big that its costs and debt have become a great threat to our children’s future.
  • Working to Grow the Good Jobs We Need: To remain a leader in the global economy, we must improve our nation’s business climate by eliminating excessive federal mandates, simplifying our tax code, reducing burdensome tax rates, and cutting wasteful spending.
  • Sharing Every Parent’s Hope: A Better Future for Our Children: I want every child to have more opportunities, and a brighter future, than their parents and grandparents were offered. This has always been the American way. Unfortunately, that's not the path we're on as a nation today.
  • Preparing Our Children for that Future: As your Congressman, I will take this fight to the national level to ensure that our grade school students are better represented. I will also continue to do all that I can to ensure that students have greater access to higher education.
  • Preserving the Opportunity: Giving Our Kids a Chance: My personal experiences have deeply impacted my appreciation for the value of life and for the blessing it is to have a child. For those who may not be ready for parenthood, I believe that alternatives that show respect for life should be offered and available.


—Lee Zeldin, Campaign website (archive)


Zeldin's campaign website highlighted several main issues:

  • Reduce Property Taxes: "Property taxes on Long Island are outrageously high. The 10 highest property taxed counties in the country are in New York. Lee supports reinstating the STAR Property Tax Rebate Program. The Senate Democrats, with Lee's opponent as the deciding vote, eliminated our STAR Property Tax Rebate checks. Young families, seniors and others were relying on these checks to get some much deserved and needed relief from high property taxes."
  • Repeal the MTA Payroll Tax: "Lee's opponent cast the deciding vote to create the MTA Payroll Tax. The MTA “Foley” Payroll Tax is killing small businesses, schools, hospitals, non-for-profits, and local governments in Islip, Brookhaven and throughout Long Island. Entities paying the tax have been forced to lay off employees, cut payroll and watch their profits shrink." Zeldin sponsored the repeal of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority payroll tax.[10][11]
  • Reform Education Funding to Benefit Long Island More: "Long Island deserves its fair share of state school aid. Lee's opponent was the deciding vote to slash Long Island’s share of new state school aid by 62% in 2009. Long Island has between 13% and 17% of our state’s public school enrollment and attendance yet we received ONLY 5% of the new state school aid in return last year. Lee wants to reform our state school aid formula so that Long Island school districts get our fair share from Albany."
  • Create Jobs: "Lee Zeldin started his own small business and he knows that taxes do not create jobs—they kill jobs. As our voice in the State Senate, Lee will cut taxes and unnecessary red tape for businesses in Brookhaven and Islip which will create jobs. Tax incentives should be implemented for companies who create sustainable jobs."
  • Corruption and Dysfunction in Albany: "The culture of corruption and dysfunction in Albany must end. Albany is in need of a full overhaul. For too long, New York has been controlled by “3 men in a room.” Too many of our legislators have been involved in scandals and back room deals. The interests of Islip and Brookhaven are being sold out to the New York City based leadership. Lee will fight to end the dysfunction and special interest influence throughout New York, and limit the role of government in our daily lives."



See also: New York's 1st Congressional District elections, 2014

The 1st Congressional District of New York held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Tim Bishop (D) was defeated by Lee Zeldin (R), switching the partisan control of the seat from Democratic to Republican. Bishop ran uncontested in the Democratic, Working Families and Independence Party primaries on June 24, 2014. Zeldin defeated George Demos in the Republican primary, and also ran uncontested for the Conservative Party nomination.

New York's 1st was considered a battleground district in 2014. Bishop had been in office for 10 years, but in 2012 he won re-election by a mere 4.6 percent margin of victory. The 2012 presidential elections leaned Democratic as well, but President Barack Obama won the district by only 0.5 percent. Bishop's seat was viewed as vulnerable by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and Bishop was a member of their Frontline Program to protect vulnerable incumbents. Zeldin received help from his party as well, as the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) added him to their "On the Radar" list.

U.S. House, New York District 1 General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Tim Bishop Incumbent 44.5% 78,722
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngLee Zeldin 53.2% 94,035
     N/A Blank/Void/Scattering 2.2% 3,962
Total Votes 176,719
Source: New York State Board of Elections
U.S. House, New York District 1 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngLee Zeldin 61.3% 10,283
George Demos 38.7% 6,482
Total Votes 16,765
Source: New York State Board of Elections - Official Election Results

Race background

The National Republican Congressional Committee added Zeldin to their "On the Radar" list in November 2013. According to the NRCC, candidates that made this list were set to receive "...the tools they need to run successful, winning campaigns against their Democratic opponents."[12][13]


Zeldin's endorsements included:

  • Sen. John McCain[14]
  • The Suffolk County Republican Committee[15]
  • The Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh[16]
  • The Suffolk County Corrections Officer Association (SCCOA)[17]
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce[18]
  • Former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato[19]
  • Donald Trump[19]
  • Former Sen. Rick Santorum[19]

Cowardly Lion

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) received criticism for an internet post calling Zeldin a coward for not explaining his position on the House GOP budget. The post stated, "Over a month after his House Republicans passed Paul Ryan’s reckless budget, Congressional Candidate Lee Zeldin is still too scared to admit how he would vote for the plan, even though he wants Long Islanders to send him to Congress."[20] A spokesman for the DCCC also posted a photo to Twitter of Zeldin's face superimposed on the body of the Cowardly Lion from the movie, The Wizard of Oz. This attack angered Republicans, especially because Zeldin served in the Army with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq. The National Republican Campaign Committee sent Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop and DCCC chairman Steve Israel copies of Dominique Francois' book, 82nd Airborne, in retaliation.[21] Both Israel and Bishop later condemned the attacks on Zeldin, stating that they had not been aware of the comments that were made, and that they disagreed with them.[22]


Following a similar ad from the U.S. Jobs Council, Zeldin released multiple campaign ads against his primary opponent, George Demos, tying him to Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.[23][24]


See also: New York State Senate elections, 2012

Zeldin ran in the 2012 election for New York State Senate District 3. He ran unopposed in the Republican primary on September 13, 2012, and defeated Francis T. Genco (D) in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.[25][26][27]

New York State Senate, District 3, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngLee Zeldin Incumbent 55.8% 51,920
     Democratic Francis T. Genco 44.2% 41,139
Total Votes 93,059


See also: New York State Senate elections, 2010

Zeldin was uncontested in the September 14 Republican primary. Zeldin defeated incumbent Brian Foley (D) in the general election on November 2.[28][29] In addition to running on the Republican ticket, Zeldin ran on the Independence Party of New York State and Conservative Party tickets.

New York State Senate, General Election Results, District 3 (2010)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Lee Zeldin (R) 41,063
Brian Foley (D) 30,876

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor history

Comprehensive donor information for Zeldin is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Zeldin raised a total of $3,659,127 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 16, 2015.[30]

Lee Zeldin's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2014 U.S. House (New York, District 1) Won $1,861,021
2012 New York State Senate, District 3 Won $760,886
2010 New York State Senate, District 3 Won $1,037,220
Grand Total Raised $3,659,127


Zeldin won election to the U.S. House in 2014. During that election cycle, Zeldin's campaign committee raised a total of $1,861,021 and spent $1,814,213.[31] This is more than the average $1.45 million spent by House winners in 2014.[32]

Cost per vote

Zeldin spent $19.29 per general election vote received in 2014.

U.S. House, New York District 1, 2014 - Lee Zeldin Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $1,861,021
Total Spent $1,814,213
Total Raised by Election Runner-up $3,034,996
Total Spent by Election Runner-up $2,988,327
Top contributors to Lee Zeldin's campaign committee
Gershow Recycling$17,500
Operating Engineers Union$17,000
HJ Kalikow & Co$16,600
Knott Partners$15,600
Koch Industries$15,200
Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee
Real Estate$140,065
Leadership PACs$134,300
Securities & Investment$84,450
Health Professionals$56,500

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Zeldin's reports.[33]


Lee Zeldin won re-election to the New York State Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Lee Zeldin raised a total of $760,886.


In 2010, Zeldin raised a total of $1,037,220 in campaign contributions.[36]

His three largest campaign contributors in 2010 were:

Donor Amount
Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of New York $328,450
Independence Party of New York $18,000
WB Stellar IP Owner LLC $11,000


See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in New York

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of New York scorecards, email suggestions to scorecards@ballotpedia.org.

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.


In 2013, the 200th New York State Legislature, first annual session, was in session from January 9 to December 31. In 2014, the 200th New York State Legislature, second annual session, was in session from January 8 to June 19, 2014.[37]

  • Legislators are scored on their votes of bills that benefit or harm the environment.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes of bills that benefit or harm the environment.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key small business issues.


In 2011, the 199th New York State Legislature, first annual session, was in session from January 5 to June 20, 2011. In 2012, the 199th New York State Legislature, second annual session, was in session from January 4 to June 22, 2012.

  • Legislators are scored on their voting records concerning library funding.
  • Legislators are scored on their voting records concerning library funding.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key small business issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes of bills that benefit or harm the environment.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes of bills that benefit or harm the environment.


Zeldin and his wife Diana have two children.

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External links

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  1. Associated Press, "New York - Summary Vote Results," accessed June 24, 2014
  2. Politico, "2014 New York House Election Results," accessed November 7, 2014
  3. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Lee Zeldin," accessed January 28, 2015
  4. U.S. House of Representatives, Office of the Clerk, "Committee Information," accessed February 20, 2015
  5. YouTube, "Lee Zeldin - New Leadership, A Louder Voice, A Fresh Perspective," accessed June 2, 2014
  6. New York Senate, "Senator Lee Zeldin Secures Repeal of the Saltwater Fishing License Fee," March 24, 2011
  7. Newsday, "Suffolk: Bellone credits Zeldin on state PTSD program," October 14, 2013
  8. Lee Zeldin for Congress, "Issues," accessed October 6, 2014
  9. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  10. Votesmart, "S 5596 - Revising The Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax - Key Vote," accessed August 3, 2014
  11. LI Politics, "MTA PAY-ROLL TAX REPEAL BILL SIGNED INTO LAW," December 12, 2011
  12. Roll Call, "House Republicans Put 36 Recruits ‘On the Radar,’ " accessed November 21, 2013
  13. NRCC Young Guns, "List," accessed March 20, 2014
  14. Roll Call, "McCain Takes Sides in House GOP Primary in New York," accessed May 24, 2014
  15. The Independent, "Suffolk GOP Endorses Lee Zeldin," accessed May 24, 2014
  16. New York State of Politics, "Zeldin Backed By Suffolk Conservative Party," accessed May 24, 2014
  17. Corrections, "Suffolk County Corrections Officer Association (SCCOA) Endorses Senator Lee Zeldin for Congress," accessed May 24, 2014
  18. New York State of Politics, "Zeldin Nets Chamber Of Commerce Endorsement," accessed May 24, 2014
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Newsday, "1st C.D.: Zeldin brings in Cantor to help raise $$ against Demos," accessed June 10, 2014
  20. Jewish Political News & Updates, "NY01- DCCC Calls Jewish Congressional Candidate Lee Zeldin A ‘Coward’," accessed May 23, 2014
  21. New York Post, "GOP offers Congressman a lesson after he called opponent a coward," accessed May 23, 2014
  22. The Washington Times, "DCCC’s Steve Israel slams own committee for email calling Republican ‘coward’," accessed May 24, 2014
  23. NY State of Politics, "Zeldin TV Spot Ties Demos Closely To Pelosi," accessed April 22, 2014
  24. YouTube, "Money Bags," accessed May 5, 2014
  25. State of New York, State Board of Elections, "Candidate List for the September 13, 2012, State Primary Election," accessed July 31, 2014
  26. State of New York, State Board of Elections, "Official September 13, 2012, Primary Results," accessed July 31, 2014
  27. State of New York, State Board of Elections, "Official Senate Election Returns Nov. 6, 2012," accessed July 31, 2014
  28. New York Times, "NY state legislative election results," accessed February 11, 2014
  29. New York State Board of Elections, "Official Primary results from September 14, 2010," accessed July 31, 2014
  30. Follow the Money, "Zeldin, Lee," accessed April 16, 2015
  31. Open Secrets, "Lee Zeldin 2014 Election Cycle," accessed April 9, 2015
  32. Open Secrets, "Winning vs. Spending," accessed April 9, 2015
  33. Federal Election Commission, "Lee Zeldin Summary Report," accessed April 24, 2014
  34. Federal Election Commission, "Lee Zeldin Year-End," accessed April 24, 2014
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Lee Zeldin April Quarterly," accessed April 24, 2014
  36. Follow the Money, "2010 campaign contributions," accessed August 1, 2014
  37. State Scape, "Session Schedules," accessed July 16, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Tim Bishop (D)
U.S. House of Representatives - New York District 1
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Brian Foley (D)
New York State Senate District 3
2011–January 1, 2015
Succeeded by
Tom Croci (R)