Gov. Kathy Hochul endorsed Great Neck resident and fellow Democrat Robert Zimmerman in the 3rd Congressional District race Saturday.
Zimmerman won the district’s Democratic Primary last week after receiving more than 9,400, or roughly 35%, of the votes. Hochul, who aced the Democratic Primary in the gubernatorial race in late June, said she will work “tirelessly” with Zimmerman to improve the quality of life for middle-class families if they are both elected.
“Robert’s victory reflects the broad coalition of community leaders, organized labor, and so many who have held or presently hold elected office,” Hochul said in a statement. “His leadership on defending a woman’s right to choose, standing up for gun safety, and 33-year career as a small business owner, uniquely qualify him to be an effective member of Congress.”
“I am honored and grateful to have the support of Gov. Kathy Hochul,” Zimmerman said. “In her historic tenure as our state’s first woman governor, Kathy Hochul has shown great leadership in defending abortion rights, being a fierce advocate for anti-gun violence legislation, and ensuring New York State remains a leader in fighting the climate crisis.”
Zimmerman, 67, is co-president of ZE Creative Communications on Bond Street in Great Neck, a public relations firm he started 33 years ago with Ron Edelson and a Democratic national committeeman. He defeated North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, who came in second place with 6,884 votes for 26%.
Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan was in third place with 5,296 votes, Melanie D’Arrigo received 4,197 votes and Reema Rasool received 661 votes.
If elected, Zimmerman would become the first openly gay member of Congress from Long Island and Queens as would his Republican challenger, George Santos.
Zimmerman previously worked as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill for Congressmen Lester Wolff, James Scheuer and Gary Ackerman. His advocacy also led to his being nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve on the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Presidential Commission on the Arts and by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Council on the Humanities.
The businessman referred to numerous pieces of legislation in state governments aimed at compromising voting, abortion and the LGBTQ+ community’s rights, among other things, as threats to the country’s fabric.
Notable endorsements for Zimmerman include former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, state Assemblyman Charles Lavine and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
New district maps were submitted recently by a court-appointed special master and have been viewed as more neutral compared to ones that were rejected by a state appeals court earlier this year.
While the 3rd Congressional District under the new proposal does not extend as far west as the Bronx or Westchester, it does stretch to more southern parts of Nassau County, such as Hicksville and Massapequa. The new lines do exclude the parts of the district that now stretch into Suffolk County, mainly Huntington and Smithtown.
Hochul, who defeated Suozzi in the June Primary, will look to become the first female governor of the state elected to a full four-year term after being promoted from lieutenant governor following Andrew Cuomo’s resignation last August. Hochul was a representative in the state’s 26th Congressional District from 2011 to 2013 before becoming lieutenant governor.
The governor said she has “prioritized keeping our communities safe, bringing down the cost of living for New Yorkers, and investing in schools to get our kids back on track,” according to her website.
She will face U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) on Nov. 8 in the state’s general election for governor. Zeldin secured the Republican nomination, easily besting Andrew Giuliani, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and businessman Harry Wilson.