David Calone, CEO of local venture capital firm Jove Equity Partners and head of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, has filed to run against 1st District Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin in next year’s congressional election.
Calone made the filing to the Federal Election Commission last week. He also gave notice of the formation of Calone for Congress, listing Virginia Capon, president of the Three Village Democratic Club and a former Port Jefferson village board member, as treasurer, and veteran campaign strategist Vickie Winpisinger of Maryland as assistant treasurer.
Reached at his home Sunday night, Calone said he was excited about the campaign and looked forward to talking more about his candidacy soon. He deferred additional comment.
Calone’s run was widely expected, especially among members of the technology community, which he has visited regularly in the past months to help formulate his advocacy for an innovation economy on Long Island.
Former Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko – now the head of Accelerate Long Island – and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn are also considered potential candidates.
Political insiders predict the 1st District race will be one of the most expensive in the 2016 election cycle, with each candidate expected to spend at least $7 million. Even with half that amount coming from PACs and the national party organizations, the race will require significant fundraising on the part of the candidates, especially for an out-of-the-blocks run like Calone’s.
Federal law limits personal contributions in the race to $5,400, including a primary. Corporate contributions are not allowed in federal races.
Calone graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 1996 and Harvard Law School, also cum laude, in 1999. Before joining Jove Equity, he was a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, where he worked on cases involving terrorism and corporate international crime, including work on the 9-11 prosecutions. He later served as a special assistant New York attorney general, where his work focused on Medicaid fraud.
A student body president at Princeton, Calone was selected as a 1994 White House Intern, where he worked on Vice President Al Gore’s Reinventing Government initiative. In 2008, he served as the head of the transition team for U.S. Congressman Jared Polis, a college pal and the founder of Jove Equity. Calone also helped form the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which has been an advocate for federal policies affecting the creation of startups and other small businesses.
Calone is also a cofounder of the Long Island Emerging Technologies Fund, which invests in local IT, biotech and clean energy startups.
Zeldin defeated veteran Democrat Tim Bishop in November and is barely four months into his first term. A graduate of SUNY Albany and Albany Law School, he previously served as a New York State senator, having defeated Brian X. Foley in 2010. Zeldin is an Iraqi War veteran and U.S. Army Reserves major and is widely described as the sole Jewish Republican in the House.