Stephen Bannon to headline fundraiser for Rep. Zeldin

Posted: Updated:
SMITHTOWN -

A former strategist for the president is vying to help re-elect one of Long Island's congressmen.

Stephen Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, will headline a campaign fundraiser for Rep. Lee Zeldin.

Bannon is best known for running the controversial Breitbart News website, a divisive right-wing opinion and news outlet that has been accused of supporting white nationalism.

Pete Imbriano, of St. James, says he doesn't support Bannon's views or Zeldin's acceptance of his backing.

"If he's going to support Lee Zeldin, and Zeldin takes the support, then it's almost like saying he's accepting it," Imbriano says. "And he's accepting the way things were and all the negative parts that he brings."

Harry Cuff, a Smithtown Democrat, says he's not surprised by the move.

"I'm not a fan of Lee Zeldin either," Cuff says. "I know he's been a Trump supporter. So basically anything Trump says or does, or people he uses, he's going to sue them as well."

Rich Schaffer, Suffolk's Democratic Party leader, blasted Bannon and Zeldin in a statement.

"Steve Bannon wants three things -- sex offender Roy More to be elected to the United States Senate, legislation that raises taxes on Long Island middle-class families and re-electing Lee Zeldin," he said. "This should be a real wake-up call to Suffolk County residents about just how much Washington has changed Lee Zeldin."

On the other hand, according to the website Axios, Bannon is working to unseat veteran Republican lawmakers who have criticized President Donald Trump. His most high-profile target is Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who he blames for blocking the president's agenda.

And other voters say they'll continue to support Zeldin regardless of Bannon's involvement.

"I think he's a pretty good guy, an intelligent man, and he would do the right thing," says Mike Greene, a Port Jefferson Station resident who plans to vote for Zeldin.

Zeldin's spokesman confirmed that Bannon is headlining the fundraiser but did not comment on the event.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."