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1st C.D.: Zeldin brings in Cantor to help raise $$ against Demos

New York State Sen. Lee Zeldin campaigns a

New York State Sen. Lee Zeldin campaigns a neighborhood in St. James on Sunday morning, June 8, 2014. (Credit: James Carbone)

State Sen. Lee Zeldin is bringing in a top name Republican -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor -- to a $500-a-head fundraising luncheon for his GOP congressional primary this weekend in tony Quogue.

Cantor’s appearance comes after GOP challenger George Demos, a former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney, has repeatedly pummeled Zeldin on radio and TV, and in mailings and automated calls, with big-name Republican endorsements from former Gov. George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Zeldin has the backing of the local and state GOP and Conservative establishments, state GOP leader Edward Cox and Michael Long, state Conservative chairman, as well as former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, Donald Trump, and former presidential candidates Sen. John McCain and Rick Santorum.

Hosting Zeldin’s event are Carol and Jerry Levin, a major financial turnaround expert as well as philanthropist. Levin is former chair of Revlon, Sharper Image and Burger King. He currently heads J.W. Levin Partners LLC and Wilton Brands. Levin also heads the United Jewish Appeal.

The June 14 event comes only 10 days before what experts say is likely to be a close primary contest. As of the March 31 filing, Demos raised $2.3 million -- 90 percent of it self-financed -- while Zeldin has raised $603,000. Zeldin aides say they expect to raise $100,000 at the luncheon.

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