Perry Gershon, who seeks the Democratic Party’s nomination to challenge Representative Lee Zeldin in New York’s First Congressional District next year, has announced a series of events called the “Restore American Values Tour: 10 Town Halls in 10 Months.”
The first will be held on Sept. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Library. Next month, Mr. Gershon, who lives in East Hampton, will hold a town hall in Smithtown. Another, in Stony Brook, will follow in November. The town halls will resume in January 2020, and will be scheduled at least monthly until the Democratic primary in June.
Mr. Gershon narrowly lost a race against Mr. Zeldin last year, by 51.5 to 47.4 percentage points, two years after the incumbent easily held off a challenge by former Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. Mr. Zeldin won that contest by 16 points.
But the congressman, who ousted Representative Tim Bishop in 2014 and is serving his third term in Congress, has not held a town hall in 28 months, Mr. Gershon said in a statement on Monday. “This is unacceptable and a dereliction of his duties,” he said. “I will be 100 percent accessible when I am in Congress and I am putting down the marker right now that I will not run and hide from my constituents.”
The federal government is “broken,” Mr. Gershon said, “and too many politicians are more interested in the next soundbite than respecting our true American values. Our representatives have forgotten how to work together, respect one another, and move forward for the common good. I’m running for Congress to change that.”
Mr. Gershon announced his candidacy in April, and has won the endorsement of former Suffolk County Executive Patrick Halpin. To date, he has one challenger for the Democrats’ nomination. Nancy Goroff, a professor and chairwoman of Stony Brook University’s chemistry department, announced her candidacy in July.