Zimmerman calls race in 3rd Congressional District’s Democratic Primary

Zimmerman calls race in 3rd Congressional District’s Democratic Primary
Great Neck’s Robert Zimmerman declared himself victorious in the 3rd Congressional District’s Democratic primary last night. (Photo by Steven Keehner)

Great Neck businessman Robert Zimmerman declared himself victorious in the 3rd Congressional District’s Democratic Primary on Tuesday. 

Zimmerman, as of Wednesday morning had received 9,482, or 36%, of the votes, with 95% of the ballots reported. Former North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman was in second place as of Wednesday morning, 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.

The candidates ran for the seat left vacant by U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) who ran in the state’s gubernatorial primary race in June, only to lose to Gov. Kathy Hochul. Zimmerman will face Republican George Santos in the district’s November general election.

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. 

“This campaign is defined by our commitment to stand up for our democracy, to stand up for affordability for the middle class of America,” Zimmerman said. “What holds us and brings us together are the ideals and commitment that gives us the strength, that gives us the fight, that gives us the purpose and the mission, that strength that brought us to this victory, it’s going to bring us to victory in November.”

If elected, Zimmerman would become the first openly gay member of Congress from Long Island and Queens as would Santos.

Zimmerman previously worked as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill for Congressmen Lester Wolff, James Scheuer and Gary Ackerman.

His advocacy has 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. 

Zimmerman said it will be his job to find issues where common ground can be shared and bipartisanship can thrive, despite what he calls dangerous rhetoric from the other side.

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.

Lafazan, who was endorsed by Suozzi, said he reached out to Zimmerman following his victory. Despite the loss, he said he was still proud of the work put into his congressional campaign.

“I called to congratulate Robert on his win,” Lafazan said to supporters at his campaign headquarters in Plainview on Tuesday. “I said I will and I know our team and supporters will be here to make sure that we can keep this seat in Democratic hands and that was a pledge. “Most importantly, this is not a night to be somber. We made history and did something amazing here.”

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.

Former Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen declared herself victorious in the 4th Congressional District’s Democratic Primary election last night.

Gillen, who was endorsed by incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), received more than 12,400 votes, 63%, with approximately 95% of the ballots reported as of Wednesday morning. She led Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages who received 4,811 votes, Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett who received 2,169 votes and Muzibul Huq who received 297 votes.

The 4th Congressional District comprises central and southern Nassau County, including Floral Park, Garden City, Hempstead, Mineola, Carle Place, New Hyde Park and Westbury. Under newly drawn redistricting maps, it also takes in the villages of East Williston, Williston Park, Lake Success and some unincorporated parts of the Town of North Hempstead.

Gillen will face Republican Anthony D’Esposito, who serves as a councilman representing the Town of Hempstead’s 4th District. D’Esposito, a retired NYPD detective who lives in Island Park, was endorsed by the Nassau County Republican Party in March.

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