Democratic candidate for New York's 1st district Perry Gershon speaks...

Democratic candidate for New York's 1st district Perry Gershon speaks with media and voters on Nov. 6, 2018. Credit: Johnny Milano

Daily Point

Perry pulls ahead in poll

CD1 hopeful Perry Gershon has internal campaign polling data showing him in the lead among Democratic primary candidates trying to take on Lee Zeldin, according to topline figures shared with The Point. 

The survey of 500 likely Democratic voters done between Jan. 27 and Jan. 30 has the East Hampton businessman with 42 percent of the vote. Suffolk County Legis. Bridget Fleming notched 21 percent, and Stony Brook scientist Nancy Goroff received 9 percent.

The numbers suggest a level of familiarity with Gershon, who lost to Zeldin by 4 points in 2018. Gershon registered to vote in Suffolk County in 2017, and raised and spent millions last cycle, including hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money, which may be paying dividends now. Fleming, who has served on the Southampton Town Board as well as the county legislature, also appears to have some name recognition despite entering the race in November, months after Gershon and Goroff. 

The poll also shows Gershon leading with 43 percent of the female vote and 42 percent among men, plus 44 percent among liberals and 41 percent for moderate or conservative Democrats. 

Conducted by research and strategic consulting company GBAO, the poll has a 4.4 percentage-point margin of error.

It’s a heated time for Democrats in the race who hope to be the party’s nominee to flip a red seat. In a sign of intense intra-party debates, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is signaling concern that control of the  House may come into play if Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is at the top of the 2020 Democratic ticket.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

All the presidents I’ve loved before

In honor of Presidents Day and as he approaches his own retirement, Rep. Pete King took a trip down memory lane on Monday with a 1,300-word statement on all the presidents he has met. That includes every commander-in-chief from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.

In the memo, King remembers hearing a 90-minute analysis of world and national issues from Nixon while interning at Nixon’s law office — an experience he shared with one Rudy Giuliani. 

He met Jimmy Carter on a Delta shuttle at LaGuardia in the late 1990s: Carter “always likes to shake hands with passengers,” a flight attendant said. 

Bill Clinton, whom he supported in policy and impeachment woes, was “one of a kind,” King writes. “Enormous talent. Great achievements. Undeniable weaknesses and flaws.”

Barack Obama was “extremely intelligent and a powerful speaker,” though “a bit distant.” Ronald Reagan was “larger than life,” same as Trump, whose reelection King says he is “strongly supporting.” 

He met George H.W. Bush in the Oval Office in 1993 as the Republican was packing up after failing to win a second term.

“I was struck by the cardboard cartons of Bush memorabilia and photos, etc. lining the hallways of the White House,” King writes, “and President Bush’s calm demeanor with no hint of recrimination or anger.”

The Point asked King whether he’d left out any presidential memories. 

This elicited the visual of President Gerald Ford during a rally at the Nassau Coliseum toward the end of his failed 1976 campaign. King remembers that Ford, who was wearing a vest and losing his voice, was introduced to a number of Nassau County Republican leaders who told the president about how to win the election. Ford, hoarsely and patiently, listened.  

And then there was this little campaign trick in the summer of 1977. King says he was running in a Conservative Party primary for Town of Hempstead council and heard that Reagan was making a rare appearance in the Empire State. Then-Nassau Conservative Party chief Jack O’Leary suggested he try to go get a picture with the California governor. 

Unfortunately, there were no pictures allowed at the event, but O’Leary and King happened upon an open door leading to a room where Reagan and his wife were sitting. The Long Islanders said, we’re here for the photos. 

King says the picture got sent out as a last-minute mailer to registered Conservatives in the town, the implication being that Reagan “flew in to endorse me.”

He won the primary.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Mixed messages

Tom Stiglich

Tom Stiglich

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Quick Points

  • Who knew Attorney General Bill Barr was such a magician? No one knows whether he is waging war on the Department of Justice or on behalf of the Department of Justice.
  • After a proposed assault weapons sales ban failed in Virginia when moderate Democrats balked at approving it, state senators voted instead to ask the commonwealth’s crime commission to study the issue. And when the commission concludes that banning assault weapons would save lives, what are those moderate Democrats going to do?
  • As reports emerge that problems like the ones that plagued Iowa’s caucuses are developing in Nevada, Democratic National Committee officials say that are confident that Nevada officials are doing everything they can to put in place lessons learned in Iowa. The “everything they can” part is the problem.
  • A New York City billionaire with a history of changing political parties and making impolitic and insensitive remarks being attacked by all of his primary rivals for his party’s presidential nomination? Yup, Michael Bloomberg has more in common with Donald Trump than he would like to think.
  • A new narrative out of China that says previously invisible President Xi Jinping was actually involved in the country’s much criticized response to the coronavirus much earlier than was thought creates an interesting dilemma for Xi: Either he was negligently late in responding, or early in responding but negligent.
  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced a $10 billion fund to fight climate change. You didn’t expect him to go small, did you?

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie