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Lee Zeldin raised $342,000 since October for Congress race

State Senator Lee Zeldin, chairman of the Senate

State Senator Lee Zeldin, chairman of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee, speaks at his press conference about his legislation designed to protect consumers at the pump on April 24, 2012. Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) raised $342,000 in the last three months of 2013 in his bid to take on Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and fight off a multimillion-dollar GOP primary challenge from former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer George Demos.

Zeldin issued a summary of his filing, which states he has $307,315 cash on hand, but did not disclose his entire campaign finance report, which must be filed with the Federal Election Commission Friday.

Demos, making his third bid for the 1st District seat, said earlier this month he had $2.1 million on hand. He made two personal loans to his campaign and raised another $250,000.

Demos already has spent about $200,000 on two cable TV ad buys and currently is in the midst of a third ad blitz attacking Zeldin for voting to fund Obamacare. Zeldin maintains Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo implemented Obamacare by executive order on his own and no state money was used -- only federal grant funds.

Demos' and Bishop's filings also are due Friday. The filings cover the period from Oct. 7 to Dec. 31.

Zeldin received 575 contributions, 94 percent from New York State and 86 percent from Long Island. "The money raised here sends a clear message that the voters want Lee to run and win this congressional seat," said Chapin Fay, Zeldin's campaign manager.

"We're going to show a lot more money than Lee does," said Kevin Tschirhart, Demos' campaign manager.

Zeldin backers say the bulk of Demos' funding comes from his father-in-law, Angelo Tasdakopoulos, a West Coast developer who has raised money for Hillary Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

"It's a very strong showing," Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle, a Zeldin backer, said of Zeldin's fundraising.

Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said the filing shows "a lack of enthusiasm" for Zeldin. "That's only a fraction of what Demos has raised," Schaffer said.

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