New York's 1st Congressional District elections, 2014

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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



New York's 1st Congressional District

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
June 24, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Lee Zeldin Republican Party
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 held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2014. Lee Zeldin (R) defeated incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop (D) in the general election.

New York's 1st Congressional District - which, at the time of the 2014 election, consisted of a variety of diverse communities from the ritzy Hamptons to working class neighborhoods such as Smithtown - was a battleground district in 2014. In 2004, George W. Bush won the district over John Kerry by just a single point. Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by only 0.5 percent in 2012.[4] FairVote rated the 2014 race as a toss up.[5] The Cook Political Report rated New York's 1st as leaning Democratic but still a competitive race.[6]

The 2014 midterms marked the second time that Zeldin challenged Bishop for the Congressional seat. He did the same in 2008 but lost to Bishop by a margin of more than 14 points. In 2014, however, Zeldin was identified as a "rising conservative star," as he successfully won a seat in the New York State Senate in 2010.[4] The contentious showdown in District 1, which garnered national media attention, ended up being the most expensive House race in the state and the eighth most expensive nationwide. Various outside groups, along with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, spent approximately $15 million on the race.[7]

Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop was in office for 10 years. However, in 2010, he nearly lost to his Republican challenger in a race that sparked the longest-running Congressional recount in the nation's history, up to that point.[8] He subsequently won re-election by a mere 4.6 percent margin of victory in 2012. Bishop ran uncontested for the Democratic, Independence Party and Working Families Party nominations in the primary on June 24, 2014. However, accusations of pay-to-play activity haunted him along the campaign trail after it was revealed that Bishop attempted to solicit a donation from hedge fund manager Eric Semler after Bishop assisted in acquiring a fireworks permit for Semler's son's bar mitzvah.[4][9]

The Republican primary 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.[10] 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 was 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.[11]

Based on close general elections in the few years prior, along with the District's ratings from FairVote and The Cook Political Report, New York's 1st Congressional District appeared to be split evenly between Democratic and Republican voters. For this reason, candidates targeted 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 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."[12] Neither Zeldin nor Demos gained support from tea party groups leading up to the primary. 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.[13] 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 was 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 defended his position by stating, "There’s a lot that suggests that this bill is a pretty damn good idea."[14]

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.[15][16][17]

Voter registration: To vote in the federal primary, voters had to register by May 30, 2014. To vote in the state primary, voters had to register by August 15, 2014.[18]

See also: New York elections, 2014

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was 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.[19]


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. 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.[27]

Election results

General election

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

Primary election

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

Incumbent Tim Bishop (D) was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program. The program was designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents during the 2014 election cycle.[28]

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) added Lee Zeldin (R) 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."[29][30]

Previous challenges to Bishop's seat

Even outside of his state senate district, Republican candidate Lee Zeldin was 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.[31]

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."[32] 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.[32]

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."[13] 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 on Bishop's part to cast Zeldin and Demos as more radical. Zeldin 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."[33] The majority of Republican attacks against Bishop focused on Obamacare, which Bishop continued to defend.[14]

Tim Bishop under ethics investigations

Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop was under investigation from the House Ethics Committee for an alleged campaign finance violation from 2012. The accusations stated that Bishop helped get a fireworks permit for Eric Semler's son's bar mitzvah, and subsequently asked Semler for a campaign contribution. Bishop denied 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 used Bishop's actions against him in preparation for the November 2014 general election.[34] 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."[35]

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."[36] 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.[37] 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.[38]

Republican primary themes

The race between George Demos and Lee Zeldin centered primarily on the following themes:[13][39]

  • Obamacare: Demos ' primary attack on Zeldin was that, as a state senator, Zeldin voted for legislation that helped 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.


Tim Bishop

Zeldin's endorsements included:

Lee Zeldin

Zeldin's endorsements included:

  • Sen. John McCain[42]
  • The Suffolk County Republican Committee[43]
  • The Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh[44]
  • The Suffolk County Corrections Officer Association (SCCOA)[45]
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce[46]
  • Former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato[13]
  • Donald Trump[13]
  • Former Sen. Rick Santorum[13]

George Demos

Demos' endorsements included:

  • Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
    • Giuliani endorsed George Demos on March 7, 2014.[47][48]
    • 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."[48]
  • Former Gov. George Pataki[49]


See also: Energy and the 2014 election: the ballots and beyond

Campaign themes

Tim Bishop

Tim Bishop listed the following issues on his campaign website:[50]

  • Environment: "With over 300 miles of coastline in New York’s First Congressional District, I understand that a clean environment is vital for eastern Long Island’s economy. From leading the charge against misguided efforts to reward heavy industry at the expense of our environment, to bringing back needed federal dollars to preserve open space and preserve our beaches, I am working hard to ensure that future generations will have clean air and water in perpetuity."
  • Fighting for Seniors: "I have led the charge against the Republican budget that would end Medicare as we know it and transform it into a voucher system. Our seniors worked long and hard to pay into Medicare—I will always fight to ensure they receive the high-quality care that they’ve earned."
  • Fighting for Working Americans: "A strong middle class is vital to grow the Long Island economy. That’s why I voted to extend income tax cuts for middle-class families, voted for the payroll tax cut, and voted to repeal the marriage penalty and veterans tax on retirement pay and disability benefits."
  • Jobs and the Economy: "When Republicans in Congress tried to slash funding to Brookhaven National Laboratory, I successfully fought against their severe cuts and saved 1,000 middle-class jobs. And when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed moving the New York Air Traffic Control center in Ronkonkoma and the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control facility in Westbury off Long Island, I spearheaded the effort to keep the facility on Long Island and saved 950 jobs in the process."
  • Supporting Our Veterans: "Our brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who risk their lives to protect our freedom deserve our full support when they return home. I voted to improve access to high-quality healthcare, reduce wait times and provide $5 billion to recruit more doctors, nurses and other medical professional for our returning veterans."
  • Working for Long Island: "Together with Senator Chuck Schumer, I led the initiative directing the FAA to create the North Shore route that requires pilots to remain a mile offshore and has given relief to many Long Islanders, and I have repeatedly pressed the FAA to add a South Shore route. I will continue to work to extend the route past Orient Point and protect the quality of life on Long Island's East End."


—Tim Bishop, Campaign website (archive)

Lee Zeldin

Lee Zeldin listed the following issues, among others, on his campaign website:[52]

  • 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)


General election polls

Tim Bishop vs. Lee Zeldin
Poll Tim Bishop (D) Lee Zeldin (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Newsday/News 12/Siena College
October 26-29, 2014
Harper Polling
September 21-22, 2014
Public Opinion Strategies
September 23-25, 2014
Siena College Research Institute
September 7-11, 2014
AVERAGES 46.5% 45.25% 8% +/-4.2 557.5
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Campaign contributions

Tim Bishop

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Bishop’ reports.[53]

Lee Zeldin

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.[62]

George Demos

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Demos' reports.[65]

George Demos (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
October Quarterly[66]October 3, 2013$0.00$1,000,000.00$(0.00)$1,000,000.00
Year End[67]January 31, 2014$1,000,000.00$1,201,510.00$(149,121.80)$2,052,388.20
April Quarterly[68]April 15, 2014$2,052,388.20$35,245.00$(815,686.22)$1,271,946.98
Running totals

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


Tim Bishop

NRCC ad attacking Tim Bishop

Lee Zeldin

Lee Zeldin campaign ad attacking Demos

Lee Zeldin campaign ad tying Demos to Pelosi

George Demos

  • Rudy Guiliani praised Demos in the following campaign ads:[72][73]

Rudy Giuliani endorsement

Rudy Giuliani campaign ad supporting Demos

U.S. Jobs Council ad tying Demos to Pelosi

American Action Network ad attacking Demos

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


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.[76]

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


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  9. Politico, "Tim Bishop’s bar mitzvah episode could spell trouble," August 15, 2012
  10. 27 East, "Despite Limited Donations, Demos Outpaces Zeldin, Bishop In Campaign Spending," accessed May 24, 2014
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  12. Newsmax, "NY State Sen. Zeldin: Republicans Aren't All Extremists," accessed June 10, 2014
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  39. East End Beacon, "Zeldin and Demos Pummel Each Other," accessed June 2, 2014
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  41. The Independence Party of New York State, "Home," accessed June 9, 2014
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  51. 51.0 51.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
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  76. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013