Lee Zeldin, House GOP voice for Israel, facing stiff challenge

The August 20 poll shows his challenger trailing by only two percentage points, within the margin of error in the battleground district.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York’s First Congressional District is in a dead heat with Democratic challenger Nancy Goroff in the upcoming Nov. 3 election.

One of only two Jewish Republican congressmen, the GOP has made “Zeldin its lead congressional spokesman on Israel issues,’ The Jerusalem Post reports.

Zeldin has been a strong voice for Israel in Congress. He has opposed the Iran nuclear deal, supported moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, condemned Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism (the Minnesota Democrat ironically has taken over his old offices) and brought forward an Israel Anti-Boycott Act in January.

“This legislation would not only reinforce Congress’s opposition to the BDS movement, but protects American companies from being forced to provide information to international organizations that peddle this hate-filled movement, and holds those who attempt to violate that protection accountable,” he said at the time.

However, Zeldin, who is hoping to win his fourth term, is facing stiff competition from Goroff, a chemistry professor at Stony Brook University.

Goroff’s pro-Israel bona fides are less encouraging for those voters who view Israel as a key issue. One item that will raise eyebrows among this group is the fact that Goroff is backed by J Street, a left-wing organization feted by the Obama administration and which advocates for Israeli territorial withdrawals from strategic areas. It has raised $60,000 for her campaign, the Post reports.

Zeldin defeated his 2018 opponent, Perry Gershon, in part by making a point of the support she received from J Street. Zeldin won that election by 4.1%.

Goroff, who is Jewish, says she supports the two-state solution. She opposes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sovereignty plan, which she calls “destabilizing.”

Zeldin is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, something that Goroff is trying to use against him. On Wednesday, Zeldin was a key speaker at the Republican National Convention.

Zeldin won his first congressional election in 2014 against incumbent Tim Bishop, 53.2% to 44.5%. In 2016, Zeldin trounced Democratic challenger Anna-Thone Holst by a margin of 15.6%.

But the August 20 poll spells trouble. It shows him leading Goroff 48%-to-46% – within the margin of error.