By Rick Murphy
The Suffolk County Republican Committee is all-in for Lee Zeldin.
On Thursday the committee unanimously endorsed Zeldin, 34, a State Senator from Shirley, to run for Congress against incumbent Tim Bishop.
The move was a stinging rebuke to George Demos of Ronkonkoma, who has actively sought the GOP endorsement for several years and ran unsuccessful primaries in the last two elections –losing both to Randy Altschuler.
"We have a great shot to win the seat back," Zeldin said Monday. "The feedback has been amazing all over the district. People are fed up. We need to send a message to Washington – enough is enough."
Zeldin said people are upset about Obamacare – Bishop was an early supporter and remains enthusiastic about the Affordable Care Act. Ironically, Demos has been targeting Zeldin in attack ads for the better part of three months implying Zeldin is a supporter of Obamacare.
"I've done everything in my power to fight this thing," Zeldin said. "The fact is, it's a federal law."
Though the Demos camp has been silent thus far, Zeldin said he, along with the members of the GOP committee, hope Demos doesn't decide to stage a primary battle.
"That's just a lot of time and money spent on Republican infighting." Zeldin said he knows a lot of Republican insiders "have expressed that desire" to Demos. "It's hard to convince someone who doesn't listen. You can't have that conversation with George."
Zeldin graduated from William Floyd High School, earned a bachelor's degree from SUNY-Albany and holds a law degree from Albany Law School. He joined the U.S. Army after law school and served in Iraq as a paratrooper.
Bishop took the First Congressional Seat from a Republican, Felix Grucci, in 2002. He has been reelected five times, but the GOP considers Bishop extremely vulnerable. He has been the subject of an FBI probe, a justice department investigation, is under investigation by the Congressional Ethics Committee and been named one of the most "Corrupt Members of Congress" by a non-partisan Washington DC-based watchdog group.