Trump Backs Zeldin, Giffords for Gershon
An organization founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded in a mass shooting in her Arizona district in 2011, has endorsed Perry Gershon’s campaign to unseat Representative Lee Zeldin in the Nov. 6 election to represent New York’s First Congressional District.
Ms. Giffords and her husband, the former astronaut Mark Kelly, founded Giffords, a gun safety organization. The group’s #VoteCourage campaign aims to elect candidates who favor reform of the nation’s gun policies.
Ms. Giffords, who was considered a conservative Democrat in Congress, had just begun a third term when she was shot in the head while meeting with constituents outside a Tucson supermarket on Jan. 8, 2011. Her assailant shot 24 others, killing six including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. Ms. Giffords resigned her seat a year later.
“This year, voters are demanding leaders who offer more than thoughts and prayers when it comes to gun violence,” Ms. Giffords said in a Sept. 26 release announcing the endorsement. “They’re no longer willing to accept politicians who can’t imagine a world where schools, workplaces, churches, and communities are safe places, where our children don’t have to live in fear. The level of gun violence we experience in our country is not normal, and thankfully, we finally have leaders running for office who have the courage to fight to finally address it.”
Mr. Zeldin, who is seeking a third term, is a co-sponsor of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which the House of Representatives passed in December. If enacted, it would allow any person with a concealed carry permit from one state to carry their weapon in any other state, and allow anybody with a concealed carry permit to do so on any federal land, such as national parks or national monuments. The National Rifle Association gave him $9,900 in the 2016 election cycle.
“With the support of Congresswoman Giffords, her husband Captain Mark Kelly, and countless other advocates for commonsense gun reform, I know we flip this seat in November,” Mr. Gershon, who lives in East Hampton, said in a statement. “Long Islanders who go to church, school, concerts, and movie theaters should not have to live in fear of violence. If elected in November, I pledge to make passing lifesaving gun safety measures a top priority.”
Mr. Zeldin picked up a high-profile endorsement of his own last week, when President Trump endorsed his campaign via Twitter.
“Congressman Lee Zeldin is doing a fantastic job in D.C.,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Sept. 26. “Tough and smart, he loves our Country and will always be there to do the right thing. He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Mr. Zeldin retweeted the president’s remarks.
Mr. Gershon, a Democrat, also took to Twitter, retweeting Mr. Trump’s message and adding “TFW your favorite puppet’s district is slipping away,” using a slang abbreviation for “that feeling when.” Mr. Gershon has called attention to high-profile Republican and conservative voices that have weighed in on the campaign, arguing that a tweet by Donald Trump Jr. and remarks by the radio personality Rush Limbaugh are indications that his race is winnable.
Last month, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added Mr. Gershon’s campaign to its “red to blue” list, a program that seeks to unseat Republicans in Congress.