Schumer, Gillibrand endorse Zimmerman for Congress

Schumer, Gillibrand endorse Zimmerman for Congress
Robert Zimmerman was endorsed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer on Monday. (Photo courtesy of the candidate)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand endorsed Great Neck resident and fellow Democrat Robert Zimmerman for Congress Monday.

The two New York officials lauded Zimmerman for being an advocate for women’s rights and enhanced gun safety legislation, among other issues his platform stands for.  Schumer expressed his excitement to work with Zimmerman to combat the issues facing the 3rd Congressional District following the November general election.

“Robert is an effective advocate and fierce fighter for hardworking, middle-class families and our democratic values,” Schumer said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Robert in Washington on important issues like fighting for common sense gun violence prevention legislation, tackling the climate crisis, protecting LGBTQ+ rights, and creating jobs for Nassau and Queens residents.”

“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade, we need members of Congress that will stand steadfast in their support of a woman’s right to reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy. Robert will be that person,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “In Washington, Robert will be a vital partner in protecting our democracy from those who seek to dismantle our institutions and restrict voting rights.”

Zimmerman said he “will stand up to extremism and advocate for solutions and mainstream values” for the 3rd District constituency, expressing his gratitude for the endorsements.

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, 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.  

Zimmerman received 9,482, or 36%, of the votes. Kaiman finished second with 6,884 votes for 26%. Lafazan was in third place with 5,296 votes, D’Arrigo received 4,197 votes and Rasool received 661 votes.

A total of 20,147 votes were cast in Nassau in the 3rd Congressional primary and showed that Zimmerman had less of a lead over Kaiman and Lafazan than in Queens. Zimmerman received approximately 34% of the Nassau votes, while Kaiman and Lafazan received 27% and 22%, respectively.

In Queens, a total of 6,373 votes were cast in the primary, according to state figures. Zimmerman received approximately 43% of the votes, with Kaiman receiving 23% and Lafazan receiving 13%.

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 Gov. Kathy Hochul, 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.

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