By Niki Nassiri and Sara Ruberg
Former Stony Brook University chairperson for the chemistry department, Nancy Goroff, has won the 1st Congressional District Democratic primary election, and will now compete with third term incumbent Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin for a seat in the House of Representatives in November.
According to the Suffolk County Board of Elections, 51-year-old Goroff beat former Democratic party nominee Perry Gershon by 661 votes, simultaneously ousting two other candidates. If she were to defeat Zeldin this upcoming election, Goroff would become the first female Ph.D. scientist in Congress.
“It is past time that scientists have a seat at the table,” Goroff said in a press release after her win. “As a Stony Brook chemist and somebody who has built my family and career here in the town of Brookhaven, I promise to lead guided by relying on the best evidence and by keeping the needs of our community in my heart.”
The primary vote took place on June 23, but an unprecedented amount of mail-in votes delayed the results to July 10.
Zeldin is seeking a fourth term in the House of Representatives. In 2018, Zeldin won over Gershon within a 4-point margin.
Over a year ago, Goroff left her position at the university to run for Congress. While at Stony Brook, she helped develop the innovation learning center known as iCreate. She also brought in tens of millions of federal dollars for research.
“That background as a scientist knowing how to look at information and come to conclusions, analyzing lots of different streams of information, I think is really important for policy work,” Goroff said to The Statesman back in November as her campaign kicked off.
In November, Goroff also told The Statesman her number one priority was confronting policy on climate change.
In the same statement released after her win, Goroff criticized Zeldin on his duty to the district. She said Zeldin “is more interested defending President Trump’s political interests than the people he has been elected to represent.”
Zeldin issued a statement on July 9 in reaction to the Democratic primary results. He did not congratulate Goroff in the statement.
“My entire life has and continues to be in service to America and Long Island, working on behalf of our neighborhoods so they are not forgotten and ensuring our country has everything it needs to fight the battles of a constantly changing world,” Zeldin said.
Goroff says she believes her time in leadership roles at Stony Brook have prepared her for Washington. She encourages the students she once taught to participate in the upcoming election.
“Get involved,” Goroff said. “Your vote matters. We need everybody to vote.”