Six days before the election, Republican House Speaker John Boehner came to the 1st Congressional District for a second time Wednesday night to headline a rally for State Sen. Lee Zeldin in his tight, multimillion-dollar battle with six-term Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.
"I could be a lot of places tonight," said Boehner, wearing an open-necked striped shirt and red sweater. "But I'm here on Long Island for one reason: because Lee Zeldin is going to win this race."
Boehner was interrupted several times when about 200 excited GOP party activists chanted "Go Lee, Go Lee," as the candidate entered the Farmingville rally.
"I need help in Washington and I'm not getting it from Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or Barack Obama," Boehner said. "The guy I need help from is standing right next to me and that is Lee Zeldin."
Zeldin, who introduced the speaker, told Boehner: "You're getting me fired up."
He also implored supporters to redouble their efforts in the campaign's final days.
"I see the war paint on your face, you are ready to make calls and knock on doors. . . . We have the opportunity to change Washington from our little corner of America," Zeldin said.
Zeldin, who lost to Bishop six years ago, predicted victory. He said, "I see it in your eyes, I seen it on the streets. . . . Come Tuesday and as long as we work hard . . . I guarantee you we will win this race."
While Republicans were rallying, Bishop Wednesday night attended a meet-the-candidate night at an Aquebogue winery sponsored by the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce and a similar event sponsored by the Centereach Civic Association at the local firehouse. Zeldin also made a stop at the event.
"It's no surprise that Speaker Boehner would travel to Long Island to campaign for Lee Zeldin, because he knows Zeldin will be an obedient rubber stamp," said Evan Lukaske, Bishop's campaign manager. He added Boehner's agenda would give "ever-larger tax breaks to the super rich and big corporations, all while shifting the tax burden onto the backs of Long Island's middle-class families."
Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, also downplayed Boehner's appearance. "We'll have an army of people going door-to-door this weekend rather than people standing in a hall rallying," he said.
However, Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine said, "Where do you think the momentum is tonight?"
Boehner last month also appeared for Zeldin at a Bridgehampton fundraiser, where donors paid $500 to $2,600 to attend a cocktail party at the home of developer John Farrell.
Also Wednesday, Donald Trump sent out a robocall endorsing Zeldin. "Lee's going to fight every single day in Washington to fix the devastating effects of Obamacare and put our country back in the right direction, because believe me it's in the wrong direction right now," Trump says in his recorded message.