Democrat John Avlon, above, is challenging Republican Rep. Nick LaLota...

Democrat John Avlon, above, is challenging Republican Rep. Nick LaLota in the 1st Congressional District race. Credit: Getty Images for The Bob Woodruff Foundation/Slaven Vlasic

Democrat John Avlon, an author and former CNN political analyst, launched a bid Wednesday to oust freshman Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) in New York's 1st Congressional District.

Avlon, 51, who maintains residences in Manhattan and Sag Harbor, said he recently left CNN, where he had worked as a senior political analyst and fill-in anchor, to make the run. 

Four other Democrats have filed to run. They include former State Sen. James Gaughran, of Northport; Nancy Goroff, a former Stony Brook University chemistry department chair who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2020; Kyle Hill, a former congressional staffer from Port Jefferson; and Craig Herskowitz, a former New York City administrative law judge who lives in Northport. Daniel Peter Foti has filed to run as a Conservative.

The 1st District includes all of Suffolk County's North Shore and extends through the East End, covering both the North and South forks.

Avlon said if elected, he would advocate for abortion rights and fight aggressively against climate change.

"We need to build the broadest possible coalition to defeat Donald Trump, defend our democracy and win back Congress from his MAGA minions, because they don't even seem interested in solving problems anymore," Avlon said in an interview Tuesday.

Congressional primaries are scheduled for June 25. There are 565,446 voters in the 1st District, state board of elections data shows.

Of that total, 33% are registered Democrats, 32% are Republicans and another 29% are unaffiliated with a political party.

In 2022, LaLota defeated Democrat Bridget Fleming, then a Suffolk County legislator, by a margin of 54%-43%.

LaLota spokesman Will Kiley said in a statement that LaLota "has dedicated much of his adult life to serving the United States and Suffolk County and has been the common sense conservative voice Long Island needs at this crucial time in our great nation’s history."

Avlon is a graduate of Yale University, as well as Columbia University, where he earned an executive MBA, university representatives confirmed.

Avlon is married to Margaret Hoover, the host of PBS' "Firing Line" and the great-granddaughter of Herbert Hoover, the 31st U.S. president.  

With $1.3 million on hand through the end of last year, LaLota has a massive campaign cash advantage over his rivals, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings. Goroff had nearly $530,000, while Gaughran and Hill had about $126,000 each, filings show. Herskowitz had about $195,000. Foti reported $9,200.

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