New York's 1st Congressional District elections, 2014

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New York's 1st Congressional District

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
June 24, 2014

Incumbent prior to election:
Tim Bishop Democratic Party
Tim Bishop.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Lean D[1]

FairVote's Monopoly Politics: Toss Up[2]
Sabato's Crystal Ball: Lean D[3]

New York U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10District 11District 12District 13District 14District 15District 16District 17District 18District 19District 20District 21District 22District 23District 24District 25District 26District 27

2014 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of New York.png
The 1st Congressional District of New York will hold an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2014.

New York's 1st Congressional District is a battleground district in 2014. FairVote rates the 2014 race as a toss up.[4] The Cook Political Report rates New York's 1st as leaning Democratic, but still a competitive race.[5] Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop has been in office for ten years. However, 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.

Tim Bishop ran uncontested for the Democratic, Independence Party and Working Families Party nominations in the primary on June 24, 2014. The Republican primary, on the other hand, was a competitive race between George Demos and Lee Zeldin. Although Zeldin raised significantly more in donations than Demos, Demos contributed $2 million in personal loans to his own campaign, giving him more overall resources than Zeldin. During the time period of the April Quarterly Federal Election Commission (FEC) report, Demos outspent Zeldin $815,686.22 to $157,629.60. As of this report, Demos had spent over $560,000 on media and advertising.[6] Fortunately for Zeldin, Republican groups such as the U.S. Jobs Council and the American Action Network also ran campaign ads against Demos. Despite Demos' money and high-profile endorsements, Zeldin easily defeated him in the June 24 primary.

Although Bishop is viewed as one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in 2014, he had the advantage of not having to spend time or money fighting a challenge in the primary. In addition, over a month before New York's primary election, the DCCC had already set aside $1.4 million for television ads to help Bishop in his campaign for re-election.[7]

Based on close general elections in the past few years along with District's ratings from FairVote and the Cook Political Report, New York's 1st Congressional District appears to be split evenly between Democratic and Republican voters. For this reason, candidates will need to target moderate voters in order to win over votes from the other party. This strategy nearly succeeded for Randy Altschuler, who ran against Bishop on a more moderate Republican platform in 2010 and 2012. In this election, Zeldin has openly tried to avoid association with the tea party, criticizing Democrats for thinking that "every single Republican running for office anywhere in the country... [is] automatically, a right-wing, tea-party extremist."[8] As of June 2014, neither Zeldin nor Demos had gained support from tea party groups. Nonetheless, both candidates wanted to preserve their conservative identity. In a debate on May 23, 2014, both Republican candidates professed to be the one "true conservative" in the election.[9] Both Zeldin and Demos said that they opposed the Common Core curriculum, raising the minimum wage, citizenship for illegal immigrants and banning assault weapons.

The Affordable Care Act, informally known as "Obamacare," was a major theme in the Republican primary, and will likely be an important topic in the general election as well. Even before the primary election, both Republican candidates began attacking Bishop for his support of the healthcare law. Bishop has defended his position by stating, "There’s a lot that suggests that this bill is a pretty damn good idea."[10]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
April 14, 2014
June 24, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: New York is one of 12 states to use a strictly closed primary process, in which the selection of a party's candidates in an election is limited to registered party members.[11][12][13]

Voter registration: To vote in the federal primary, voters had to register by May 30, 2014. To vote in the state primary, voters must register by August 15, 2014.[14]

See also: New York elections, 2014

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent is Tim Bishop (D), who was first elected in 2002.

New York's 1st Congressional District is located in the eastern portion of the state and includes Suffolk county.[15]


General election candidates

June 24, 2014, primary results

Republican Party Republican Primary

Conservative Party Conservative Primary

Green Party Green Primary

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Independence Party of America Independence Primary

Working Families Party Working Families Primary

Fusion voting

Unlike most states, New York election law allows for "fusion voting," in which each candidate can run under multiple parties. For instance, when an individual goes to vote, he or she may see a candidate's name under both the Republican Party and the Conservative Party, or under both the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party. The voter may choose to vote for their preferred candidate under either party, and the final election results will show the candidate how many votes were received from each party. The goal of this system is to allow people to vote for a third party platform without feeling as though they are throwing their votes away on a candidate that is doomed to lose. Then, if a candidate receives a lot of support from a third party, the hope is that he or she would act more in accordance with that particular party's platform.[23]

Primary results

U.S. House, New York District 1 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngLee Zeldin 62.2% 9,641
George Demos 37.8% 5,870
Total Votes 15,511
Source: Results via Associated Press Vote totals above are unofficial and will be updated once official totals are made available.

Race background

Incumbent Tim Bishop (D) is a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program. The program is designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents heading into the 2014 election.[24]

The National Republican Congressional Committee added Lee Zeldin (R) to their "On the Radar" list in November 2013. According to the NRCC, candidates that make this list receive "...the tools they need to run successful, winning campaigns against their Democratic opponents."[25][26]

Previous challenges to Bishop's seat

Even outside of his state senate district, Republican candidate Lee Zeldin is a familiar face to many voters in New York's 1st Congressional District, as he ran against incumbent Tim Bishop in the 2008 general election. Although Bishop won in 2008 by a safe margin of victory, his margins decreased in subsequent years when he ran against Randy Altschuler. Zeldin's opponent in the Republican primary, George Demos, was no stranger to New York's Congressional elections, either. Demos ran in the 1st District's Republican primary elections in both 2010 and 2012, although he lost both times against Altschuler.[27]

A battle of the moderates

When Republican Randy Altschuler ran against Tim Bishop in the 2012 general election, both candidates sought to gain the support of moderate voters. Most of the debate centered around economics, with Bishop associating Altschuler with the more conservative Paul Ryan and Altschuler retaliating by accusing Bishop of failing to propose a better solution. In addition, both candidates tried to distance themselves from other politicians in Washington. One New York Times article stated that Bishop "rarely invokes President Obama and has repeatedly criticized the House leadership."[28] Following a similar theme, Altschuler tried to portray himself as a businessman rather than a career politician, but his plan backfired when Bishop accused him of outsourcing many jobs from OfficeTiger, a company that he previously owned, to India.[28]

Following Altschuler's lead, Zeldin and Demos ran on a moderate platform as well. Unlike most other elections in the country, neither primary candidate had a solid tea party backing, so both relied on the Republican establishment instead. In a March 2014 Republican primary debate, both candidates tried to claim the title of the true "conservative" candidate in the race. Bishop's campaign spokesman Keith Davies said that the debate "sounded like an audition on 'tea party Idol' with George Demos and Lee Zeldin working to outdo one another and appeal to the tea party conservatives."[9] While this could imply that Zeldin and Demos were trying to take advantage of the untapped resources of tea party groups, despite their attempts to appear moderate, it could also have been an attempt from Bishop to cast Zeldin and Demos as more radical. Zeldin has used similar tactics in his attacks against Bishop, stating, "the 1st Congressional District is at its heart a moderate-to-conservative district. Mr. Bishop has done a good job in the past of deceiving the voters by portraying himself as a moderate Democrat. But I believe the voters are now seeing through this deception."[29] The majority of Republican attacks against Bishop have focused on Obamacare, which Bishop continues to defend.[10]

Tim Bishop under ethics investigations

Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop is under investigation from the House Ethics Committee for an alleged campaign finance violation from 2012. The accusations state that Bishop helped get a fireworks permit for Eric Semler's son's bar mitzvah, and subsequently asked Semler for a campaign contribution. Bishop denies that he committed any illegal actions. Although the supposed violation occurred in 2012, the Ethics Committee had not made a decision as of May 2014, and outside groups such as the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) and the American Action Network have used Bishop's actions against him in preparation for the November 2014 general election.[30] The American Action Network even launched a website called, which, according to their website, "features an interactive timeline to navigate the sordid history of Congressman Tim Bishop’s cash for favors, lies and cloud of ethics investigations."[31]

Lee Zeldin, the "Cowardly Lion"

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) received criticism for an internet post calling Lee 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."[32] 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.[33] Both Israel and Bishop later condemned the attacks on Zeldin, stating that they had not been aware of the comments to be made, and that they disagreed with them.[34]

Republican primary themes

The race between George Demos and Lee Zeldin centered primarily on the following themes:[9][35]

  • Obamacare: Demos ' primary attack on Zeldin was that, as a state senator, Zeldin voted for legislation that would help fund the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare." Zeldin firmly asserted that he had never supported Obamacare, and he defended himself against the accusations by stating that the budget only funded Obamacare as much as was required by federal law.
  • Campaign funding: Zeldin and his supporters consistently attacked Demos for funding his campaign with money from Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. This accusation arose because Demos' father-in-law, who had raised money for Pelosi and other Democrats, was also helping to fund Demos' campaign.


George Demos

Demos' endorsements included:

  • Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
    • Giuliani endorsed George Demos on March 7, 2014.[36][37]
    • In a statement released by the Demos campaign, Giuliani called the candidate “a fiscal conservative who says what he believes and believes what he says.” Giuliani stated, “as a former prosecutor, he knows the good guys from the bad. He will rattle the cages of the establishment. He’ll make a difference. And George would never support Obamacare. His voice will be heard in the halls of Congress, and I predict, throughout America...I am impressed with George, his passion, his intellect, and his integrity. I am proud to endorse his candidacy and prouder still to call him a friend. George Demos is one of us. And it’s time for George Demos for Congress."[37]
  • Former Gov. George Pataki[38]

Lee Zeldin

Zeldin's endorsements include:

  • Sen. John McCain[39]
  • The Suffolk County Republican Committee[40]
  • The Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh[41]
  • The Suffolk County Corrections Officer Association (SCCOA)[42]
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce[43]
  • Former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato[9]
  • Donald Trump[9]
  • Former Sen. Rick Santorum[9]

Tim Bishop

Bishop's endorsements include:

Campaign contributions

Tim Bishop

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Bishop’ reports.[46]

Tim Bishop (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[47]April 15, 2013$6,969.47$182,404.34$(43,888.05)$148,485.76
July Quarterly[48]July 15, 2013$145,485.76$284,610.87$(128,908.80)$301,187.83
October Quarterly[49]October 15, 2013$301,187.83$253,966.90$(128,474.09)$426,680.64
Year-End Quarterly[50]December 31, 2013$426,680$278,011$(138,611)$565,456
April Quarterly[51]April 15, 2014$565,456.02$300,919.49$(144,312.65)$722,062.86
Running totals

George Demos

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Demos' reports.[52]

George Demos (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
October Quarterly[53]October 3, 2013$0.00$1,000,000.00$(0.00)$1,000,000.00
Year End[54]January 31, 2014$1,000,000.00$1,201,510.00$(149,121.80)$2,052,388.20
April Quarterly[55]April 15, 2014$2,052,388.20$35,245.00$(815,686.22)$1,271,946.98
Running totals

**Included in the total contributions are two personal loans from George Demos: $1 million incurred on November 9, 2013, and $1 million incurred on December 30, 2013.

Lee Zeldin

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Zeldin's reports.[56]

Lee Zeldin (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Year-End[57]January 31, 2014$0.00$342,111.28$(34,796.18)$307,315.10
April Quarterly[58]April 15, 2014$307,315.10$261,060.58$(157,629.60)$410,746.08
Running totals


George Demos

  • Rudy Guiliani praised Demos in the following campaign ads:[59][60]

Rudy Giuliani endorsement

Rudy Giuliani campaign ad supporting Demos

U.S. Jobs Council ties Demos to Pelosi

American Action Network ad attacking Demos

Lee Zeldin

Lee Zeldin campaign ad attacking Demos

Lee Zeldin campaign ad ties Demos to Pelosi

Tim Bishop

NRCC ad attacking Tim Bishop

District history

Candidate ballot accecss
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On November 6, 2012, Tim Bishop (R) won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Randy Altschuler in the general election.

U.S. House, New York District 1 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngTim Bishop Incumbent 49.3% 145,198
     Republican Randy Altschuler 44.7% 131,650
     N/A Blank/Void/Scattering 6% 17,730
Total Votes 294,578
Source: New York State Board of Elections "U.S. House of Representatives Results"


On November 2, 2010, Tim Bishop won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Randy Altschuler (R) in the general election.[66]

U.S. House, New York District 1 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngTim Bishop 48.7% 98,316
     Republican Randy Altschuler 48.4% 97,723
     Blank/Scattering Blank/Scattering 3% 5,968
Total Votes 202,007

See also

External links


  1. Cook Political Report, "2014 House Race Ratings for August 8, 2014," accessed August 25, 2014
  2. FairVote's Monopoly Politics, "2014 House Projections," accessed August 25, 2014
  3. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 House Races," accessed August 25, 2014
  4. FairVote, "2014 Elections in New York," accessed May 24, 2014
  5. The Cook Political Report, "2014 House Race Ratings for August 8, 2014," accessed August 26, 2014
  6. 27 East, "Despite Limited Donations, Demos Outpaces Zeldin, Bishop In Campaign Spending," accessed May 24, 2014
  7. Newsday, "Tim Bishop's House re-election bid to get $1.4M in ad time buys from Democrats," accessed June 2, 2014
  8. Newsmax, "NY State Sen. Zeldin: Republicans Aren't All Extremists," accessed June 10, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Newsday, "Lee Zeldin, George Demos clash in 1st Congressional District debate," accessed May 24, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 Bloomberg Businessweek, "Vulnerable N.Y. Democrat Backs Obamacare Amid Republican Hit," accessed June 9, 2014
  11. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  12. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  13. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  14. New York Board of Elections Website, "Register to Vote," accessed January 3, 2014
  15. New York Redistricting Map "Map" accessed August 31, 2012
  16. George Demos for Congress, "Home," accessed March 11, 2014
  17. Lee Zeldin for Congress, "Home," accessed March 11, 2014
  18. Lee Zeldin for Congress, "Home," accessed March 11, 2014
  19. New York Board of Elections, "Candidate Petition List," accessed April 16, 2014
  20. Bishop for Congress, "Home," accessed March 11, 2014
  21. Bishop for Congress, "Home," accessed March 11, 2014
  22. Bishop for Congress, "Home," accessed March 11, 2014
  23. Working Families Party, "WFP’s Secret to Success: Fusion Voting," accessed June 9, 2014
  24. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, "DCCC Chairman Steve Israel Announces 2013-2014 Frontline Members," accessed March 5, 2013
  25. Roll Call, "House Republicans Put 36 Recruits ‘On the Radar’," accessed November 21, 2013
  26. NRCC Young Guns, "List," accessed March 20, 2014
  27. Riverhead News-Review, "Suffolk GOP selects Zeldin to challenge Bishop in congressional race," accessed June 9, 2014
  28. 28.0 28.1 The New York Times, "As a Long Island Congressional Race Tightens, Its Pace Becomes More Harried," accessed June 9, 2014
  29. The Epoch Times, "State Sen. Lee Zeldin: On the Radar List," accessed June 10, 2014
  30. Newsday, "'Bishop's bar mitvah scandal' timeline posted by outside group," accessed May 24, 2014
  31. American Action Network, "American Action Network Launches," accessed June 2, 2014
  32. Jewish Political News & Updates, "NY01- DCCC Calls Jewish Congressional Candidate Lee Zeldin A ‘Coward’," accessed May 23, 2014
  33. New York Post, "GOP offers Congressman a lesson after he called opponent a coward," accessed May 23, 2014
  34. The Washington Times, "DCCC’s Steve Israel slams own committee for email calling Republican ‘coward’," accessed May 24, 2014
  35. East End Beacon, "Zeldin and Demos Pummel Each Other," accessed June 2, 2014
  36. NY State of Politics, "Giuliani Joins Pataki In Backing Demos Over Zeldin (Updated)," accessed March 121, 2014
  37. 37.0 37.1 LI News Radio, "Mayor Rudy Giuliani Endorses George Demos for Congress," accessed March 11, 2014
  38. Politico, "George Pataki backs Tim Bishop challenger," accessed October 11, 2013
  39. Roll Call, "McCain Takes Sides in House GOP Primary in New York," accessed May 24, 2014
  40. The Independent, "Suffolk GOP Endorses Lee Zeldin," accessed May 24, 2014
  41. New York State of Politics, "Zeldin Backed By Suffolk Conservative Party," accessed May 24, 2014
  42. Corrections, "Suffolk County Corrections Officer Association (SCCOA) Endorses Senator Lee Zeldin for Congress," accessed May 24, 2014
  43. New York State of Politics, "Zeldin Nets Chamber Of Commerce Endorsement," accessed May 24, 2014
  44. 44.0 44.1 The Suffolk Times, "Independence Party backs Congressman Bishop," accessed May 24, 2014
  45. The Independence Party of New York State, "Home," accessed June 9, 2014
  46. Federal Election Commission, "Tim Bishop Summary Report," accessed July 30, 2013
  47. Federal Election Commission, "Tim Bishop April Quarterly," accessed July 30, 2013
  48. Federal Election Commission, "Tim Bishop July Quarterly," accessed July 30, 2013
  49. Federal Election Commission, "Tim Bishop October Quarterly," accessed October 25, 2013
  50. Federal Election Commission, "Tim Bishop Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 11, 2014
  51. Federal Election Commission, "Tim Bishop April Quarterly," accessed April 24, 2014
  52. Federal Election Commission, "George Demos Summary Report," accessed June 26, 2013
  53. Federal Election Commission, "George Demos October Quarterly," accessed April 8, 2014
  54. Federal Election Commission, "George Demos Year End," accessed April 8, 2014
  55. Federal Election Commission, "George Demos April Quarterly," accessed April 24, 2014
  56. Federal Election Commission, "Lee Zeldin Summary Report," accessed April 24, 2014
  57. Federal Election Commission, "Lee Zeldin Year-End," accessed April 24, 2014
  58. Federal Election Commission, "Lee Zeldin April Quarterly," accessed April 24, 2014
  59. YouTube, "Integrity and Character," accessed April 22, 2014
  60. YouTube, "Demos for Congress TV Ad: 'Seen It All'," accessed May 23, 2014
  61. NY State of Politics, "A Super PAC Slams Demos," accessed April 22, 2014
  62. Roll Call, "GOP Group Boosts House Candidate in New York Primary," accessed June 2, 2014
  63. NY State of Politics, "Zeldin TV Spot Ties Demos Closely To Pelosi," accessed April 22, 2014
  64. YouTube, "Money Bags," accessed May 5, 2014
  65. New York State of Politics, "In TV Ad, NRCC Blasts Bishop," accessed May 24, 2014
  66. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013