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The Bellwether

Perry Gershon, Democratic candidate for Congress, on April

Perry Gershon, Democratic candidate for Congress, on April 17. Credit: James Escher

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Daily Point

Cashing out

Democrat Perry Gershon, the challenger to Rep. Lee Zeldin in the 1st Congressional District, is celebrating $1.5 million in individual contributions in the three months ending Sept. 30.

That’s just the latest amount flowing into what has consistently been the biggest money pit of a congressional district on Long Island.

Of Long Island’s five congressional districts dating back to 2012, the 1st District has featured the biggest combined receipts between the Republican and Democrat who made it to the general election. The only exception was 2014, when $5.2 million total was raised in the open race between Democrat Kathleen Rice and Republican Bruce Blakeman in the 4th Congressional District. That barely edged out the Lee Zeldin-Tim Bishop contest that year, which saw $4.9 million total in receipts.

The high year island-wide so far was 2016, when Zeldin and Democrat Anna Throne-Holst slugged it out with more than $8 million in contributions between them, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

The high spending is what you’d expect for a fiercely contested swing district, a district with some of the most affluent ZIP codes in the nation, and one in the New York media market. The 2018 cycle could shape up to be the most expensive contest in years in CD1.

We will be discussing all those messages on Monday, when Zeldin and Gershon visit Newsday for their endorsement meetings. Yes, all congressional candidates will be interviewed separately this cycle.

Mark Chiusano

Pointing You To . . .

Introducing The Bellwether podcast

Start your weekend by downloading the “The Bellwether,” Newsday Opinion’s new podcast about two key congressional races on Long Island.

GOP Reps. Peter King and Lee Zeldin face competitive challenges from Democrats Liuba Grechen Shirley and Perry Gershon, respectively, and “The Bellwether” captures this raw political moment at the midpoint of Donald Trump’s presidency. CD1 and CD2 both are likely to be harbingers for what happens nationwide on Nov. 6.

Download the first episode on iTunes or listen on your computer to hear Suffolk Democratic Party chair Rich Schaffer talk about King’s career. State GOP chair Ed Cox has a cameo talking about the supposed blue wave. He also gave us our podcast title.

Future episodes will take a look at the establishment-outsider battles in CD2 and the Trump factor in a tightening CD1.

Stay tuned.

Mark Chiusano

Talking Point

Blowing in the wind

In 1973, as some Long Islanders were trying to head off the Long Island Lighting Co.’s proposed nuclear power plant in Shoreham, a professor from the University of Massachusetts was preparing to present the Atomic Energy Commission with an alternative:

Offshore windmills.

That’s right. What is coming to fruition today was pitched 45 years ago as a viable source of alternative energy for Long Island. If only.

William E. Heronemus, a professor of civil engineering, told Newsday then that replacing Shoreham’s 820 megawatts would require from 411 to 8,200 windmills depending on their size, and that such a wind farm could be built for the same price as the anticipated $300 million price tag for Shoreham.

Heronemus, who was scheduled to testify on behalf of the Lloyd Harbor Study Group, identified by Newsday as the main opponents of the nuclear plant, said wind’s advantages were that it would not produce thermal pollution, radiation problems or nuclear waste. LILCO attorney Edward J. Walsh Jr. said he didn’t think the windmill idea “represents a serious proposal for generating facilities.”

Nearly a half-century later, wind is more technologically advanced, more economically viable and more environmentally critical. And it’s the Shoreham plant that long ago was blown away.

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

Hold my beer...

More Mark Wilson cartoons