Nick LaLota and Michelle Bond, contenders in the Republican primary...

Nick LaLota and Michelle Bond, contenders in the Republican primary for the 1st Congressional District. Credit: James Escher

Daily Point

Attacks in CD1

The Republican primary for Lee Zeldin’s vacated CD1 seat is turning out to be a lot more interesting than expected.

Nick LaLota, chief of staff to the Suffolk County Legislature, has had the support of GOP leaders for months. But in late May, he got a fresh challenge with the entry of newcomer Michelle Bond, leader of the Association for Digital Asset Markets, a cryptocurrency trade group.

A few things make Bond different from the likes of Anthony Figliola and Cait Corrigan, who like LaLota have spent months running in the CD1 Republican primary. First off, Bond has a lot more money at her disposal: Her July campaign finance filing showed nearly $1 million in receipts, the majority of which came from herself via a $600,000 loan and a $145,309 contribution. She also has support from Long Island Loud Majority, a controversial but influential pro-Donald Trump group. And she has been particularly vocal in her attacks on LaLota.

Much of that was on display in a recent interview streamed by LILM, in which group co-founder Kevin Smith said that “we’re going to be out knocking doors and working our butts off for Michelle.”

Bond repeatedly used the conversation to slam LaLota, noting the candidate’s work for former Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, his residence in a neighboring congressional district, and what she described as his effort to “defund” police.

LaLota, a Navy vet and Annapolis graduate, did indeed work for Israel as a special assistant for military and veterans affairs, but his record on policing is not exactly akin to that of a city social justice warrior. A 2014 Newsday article notes that as an Amityville budget officer he and other trustees tried to discuss amendments to the village police contract, with the village asking the union to agree to a freeze on the base pay of top-earning officers. This was part of proposed villagewide cost-cutting not long after the municipality had received a “‘significant fiscal stress" label from the state comptroller.

On some issues, LaLota and Bond lob similar accusations at each other. LaLota, for example, does indeed live in Amityville, outside the all-Suffolk district, though he went to high school in the district, has a long career in Suffolk government, and says he and his family are looking at houses in CD1. Bond highlights her own roots growing up in Miller Place, but she only moved back to the district very recently: She registered to vote in Suffolk this June after years of voting in D.C. and Maryland, and tells The Point that she moved to Port Jefferson around that time. She and her partner recently bought a house in Maryland, one of “multiple residences” she says they own.

Both candidates tar each other as differently styled creatures of the swamp: LaLota is a longtime political figure, goes the attack. And crypto-wealth is boosting Bond’s bid for the seat, goes the other side — her contributor list beyond herself is full of blockchain-affiliated business people.

All this sets the stage for Aug. 23. LaLota’s institutional backing and resume should certainly help him, while Bond is proving adept at culture-war politics that have been animating the GOP. In the LILM interview, she and the co-founders complained about the concept of “birthing person” and some diversity efforts, and the segment closed after another LILM co-founder, Shawn Farash, did a Trump impersonation telling people to vote for her in the primary.

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

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Final Point

In the news

Welcome to this week’s news quiz, based on recent events. As usual, provide the answer for each clue, one letter per blank. The first letter of each answer, taken in order, spells the name of the openly gay member of New York’s House delegation who implored his colleagues to pass the Respect for Marriage Act to protect same-sex and interracial marriage, saying: “For me, this is personal. Imagine telling the next generation of Americans, my generation, we no longer have the right to marry. Congress can’t allow that to happen.”

A link to the answers appears below.

_ _ _ _’ _   Department store chain that is bringing back the Toys “R” Us brand to all of its stores for this holiday season.

_ _ _ _ _ _     _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   After a two-year pandemic-related absence, this iconic outdoor food and cultural celebration will return to Nassau County’s North Shore.

_ _ _ _ _     _ _ _ _ _ _   China’s Foreign Ministry said the country would “take firm and forceful measures” if this U.S. politician visits Taiwan in August as expected.

_ _ _ _ _   Airline that had the most cancellations of any U.S. carrier, according to the latest federal data for the month of May.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _   Mike Pence endorsed a Republican gubernatorial candidate who is running against Donald Trump’s choice in a primary in this swing state.

_ _ _ _   Nation that hosted talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan to unblock Ukrainian grain shipped through the Black Sea.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   The first case of polio in the U.S. in nearly a decade was diagnosed in a resident of this New York county.

_ _ _ _ _   Two people in Ghana died after contracting the highly infectious Marburg virus, which is similar to this deadly virus, neither of which has a vaccine.

_ _ _ _ _ _     _ _ _ _ _ _   Pop music icon who announced he will resume his world tour July 31 after contracting a virus that left his face partially paralyzed.

_ _ _ _ _ _   Despite updating its automatic reporting system, PSEG said it still wants customers to call the company when they experience this.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _   This streaming service was relieved to lose nearly 1 million customers in the spring, since it had expected to lose 2 million.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   The U.S. Postal Service significantly increased its commitment to replace its aging delivery fleet with more of these kinds of vehicles.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   Number of House Democrats arrested at an abortion rights rally after failing to heed warnings to stop blocking a street near the Supreme Court.

Click here for the answers to the clued words and to the identity of the New York member of Congress.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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