House Speaker John Boehner headlined a private fundraiser in Bridgehampton Saturday for state Sen. Lee Zeldin's campaign to deny Rep. Tim Bishop a seventh term.
More than 150 people attended the cocktail-hour reception at the home of developer John Farrell, with donors paying $500 to $2,600. Boehner (R-Ohio) came and left in a motorcade without making any public comment.
A Siena College/Newsday/News 12 poll released last week showed Zeldin (R-Shirley) trailing Bishop (D-Southampton) by 10 percentage points. Zeldin, in an interview after the event, called Boehner's appearance a boost for his campaign. "For me, it's great to have that opportunity for many of our supporters at this stage of the campaign to know that they're not alone in their efforts to win back the 1st Congressional District, that the national Republicans are also investing their time and energy into winning this race," Zeldin said.
The national House campaign committees for both parties regard the East End race as competitive and committed more than $1 million each.
Zeldin said he "may get outspent" in his campaign but "the heart of our effort is our direct voter contact with tremendous volunteers who greatly believe that our country is headed in the wrong direction, and they know that we can't keep re-electing the same congressman over and over again and ever expect a different result."
Bishop spokesman Evan Lukaske said in a statement before Zeldin's fundraiser: "Boehner knows that Zeldin will be a rubber stamp for the far-right wing's reckless agenda that puts the interests of corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent ahead of the middle class on Long Island." With Will James