State Sen. Lee Zeldin takes center stage at CPAC
State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this weekend as he gears up for a Congressional run.
Zeldin drew cheers from the CPAC crowd as he criticized President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats. "If you want to keep your doctor, you may have to change your congressman," Zeldin said in his remarks. "We cannot change Washington unless we change some of the people we send there to represent us."
His appearance on the national stage comes after Zeldin's announcement that he is running for Congress. He's looking to earn the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop.
Mike Dawidziak, a political analyst who primarily works with Republicans, says the GOP has long targeted Bishop's East End seat, and Zeldin's inclusion at CPAC suggests national Republican leaders believe he has a shot to win. Before he gets to run against Bishop, however, Zeldin will first have to win the primary against Brookhaven lawyer George Demos, who was recently endorsed by Rudy Guiliani.
Still, Dawidziak says Zeldin's CPAC appearance could earn him a significant fundraising boost. "It absolutely raises his name recognition nationally among these groups that invest," Dawidziak says.