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Democrat Perry Gershon leads in cash on hand in 1st CD primary

From left, Perry Gershon, Kate Browning, David Pechefsky,

From left, Perry Gershon, Kate Browning, David Pechefsky, Vivian Viloria-Fisher and Elaine DiMasi at a candidates forum on June 14 at the Setauket Neighborhood House. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Businessman Perry Gershon has four times more cash on hand than his closest competitor for the final days of the Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional District, due largely to hundreds of thousands of dollars he has given or loaned his own campaign, campaign finance reports show.

Gershon’s campaign, with more than $450,000 in cash on hand, raised $392,292.25 from April 1 to June 6, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

During the period Gershon, of East Hampton, loaned his campaign $300,000 loan and contributed $341,989. He said he has lent the campaign a total of $900,000 to date.

Kate Browning, a former Suffolk County legislator from Shirley, has $112,486.81 in cash on hand and raised $124,451 for the primary on June 26, according to her FEC report.

“I think the key to our showing is that we have $450,000 cash on hand, and we’re prepared to fight this through with the resources we need to win on June 26,” said Gershon, founder of a private equity company.

Browning’s campaign manager, Keith Davies, said the campaign was “very happy” with its fundraising. “Kate’s done a great job of raising money from individuals in the district,” Davies said.

Vivian Viloria-Fisher, a former Suffolk County legislator from Setauket, has $51,190 in cash and raised $18,883.98.

David Pechefsky, who lives in Port Jefferson and is on leave from a nonprofit that trains college students to become democracy coaches, has $83,685.71 in cash on hand and raised $39,684.36 during the filing period.

Elaine DiMasi, a former physicist and project manager at Brookhaven National Laboratory who lives in Ronkonkoma, raised $13,155 and had $15,959.71 in cash on hand.

The Democratic candidates are vying to challenge Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) in the November election.

In the Democratic primary in the 2nd Congressional District, Liuba Grechen Shirley has $142,639 on hand and raised $135,553 from April 1 to June 6, according to her new FEC filing. Grechen Shirley, of Amityville, founded the grass roots group New York’s 2nd District Democrats.

Opponent DuWayne Gregory, of Copiague, presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, raised $40,509.07 from April through June 6 and had $12,357.68 cash on hand at the close of the reporting period.

Grechen Shirley and Gregory are seeking to challenge Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) in the general election.

“Liuba Grechen Shirley is the strongest candidate to unseat Peter King, and that’s why nearly 3,000 grass roots supporters are rallying around her campaign to pass Medicare for All, fight for working families, and stand up to Donald Trump,” campaign manager Anna Brichacek said in a statement.

Gregory campaign spokeswoman Daniele de Groot said, “We are proud of our support from across Long Island and we are confident we will finish this campaign victorious.”

With Celeste Hadrick

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