MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In the heart of the Congressional district where Rep. Peter King has been an institution for 28 years, it looks like it will remain Republican country.
In fact, the two Long Island Congressional seats that had been tagged nationally as potentially flippable will stay red, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports.
Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino was tapped as the heir to King in a district that straddles Nassau and Suffolk counties.
“I’m so excited to be going down to Washington to be able to bring money home, to be able to bring support home for the residents here,” he said Tuesday night.
Despite an all-out battle from Army veteran, teacher and local politician Jackie Gordon, Garbarino’s campaign said he has a strong enough lead to overcome still-uncounted absentee ballots.
In King’s community, folks say they voted for continuity.
“I think he suits the needs of our community better. He’ll be more like Peter King. Peter King is a great guy,” one man said.
King himself said he wasn’t shocked by the results.
“The Long Island people are saying don’t turn us into New York City, we are not that far to the left, we don’t want to have this radical change,” he told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan
King helped coax voters into the GOP camp for Garbarino.
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Farther east in the 1st Congressional District, Lee Zeldin — an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump — fended off a challenge from Stony Brook scientist Nancy Goroff, declaring victory and calling for unity in his fourth term.
“There’s a time for government and a time for politics, and what our community and country has to do so much better now than what we saw happen four years ago, is that we need to come together when the election is over and we need to work with each other,” he said. “We’re Americans first.”
Goroff’s campaign manager said they owe it to voters that every single ballot left to be opened is still counted.
Watch Carolyn Gusoff’s report —
The so-called “blue wave” that was predicted to overtake Long Island ended up bleeding red.
“The Republican organizations in the two counties were able to pull their supporters and with well-targeted ads that played on some suburban fears about law and order,” said Lawrence Levy, dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University.
“Violence and crime were rising because people were home and we don’t have anything to do,” Suffolk voter Shannon Lichten said.
“Safety, they want to feel secure, they are tired of high taxes,” Nassau voter Peter Ingoglia said.
Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi is possibly in danger of losing his seat to Republican newcomer 32-year-old George Santos.
“Probably creating the biggest upset in the country against a very comfortable incumbent here on Long Island,” Santos said.
“I’m actually down by a few votes right now, but I’m very confident that with 90,000 absentee ballots to be counted that I’m gonna win this race by over 20,000 votes,” Suozzi said.
Long Island’s Congressional delegation has long been split equally — two Democrats, two Republicans.
So for now, it appears the balance will remain. Even as tens of thousands of absentee ballots won’t be counted for a week.
Meanwhile, Republicans on Long Island appear to have unseated three state Senate Democratic incumbents. State Sen. Kevin Thomas, Monica Martinez and Jim Gaughrin likely will not return to Albany.
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