Retiring GOP stalwart Peter King’s House district now a toss-up

Democrats are hoping Army Reserve veteran Jackie Gordon can turn New York’s 2nd Congressional District blue.

Peter T. King wearing a suit and tie

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Gordon, a former public school educator, is running against Republican Andrew Garbarino, a lawyer and small-business owner. They’re vying to replace New York Rep. Peter King, a Republican, who has spent nearly three decades representing New York’s 2nd and 3rd districts on Long Island and announced last November that he’d be retiring after this term.

The race for the 2nd District, which includes the southwestern region of Suffolk County and a small part of Nassau County, is a “toss up,” according to the Cook Political Report.

Gordon, a former Babylon councilwoman, has significantly out-raised Garbarino during the election cycle thus far. She has received $1.7 million in donations, more than 3 times the $488,000 of her opponent, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Additionally, she has more than $1 million more on hand than Garbarino.

Democrats are hopeful they can increase their majority in the House through this seat after King’s margin of victory fell dramatically between the 2016 and 2018 elections. President Trump won this district by 9 points in 2016, and King was reelected by 24 points. Two years later, King’s margin of victory fell to only 6 points.

House Republicans need to net about 17 seats to reclaim the House majority they lost in 2018. Having to play defense in seats such as the one King is leaving behind complicate those plans.

With the apparent opening to turn the district blue, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has pegged Gordon as a top candidate in its “Red to Blue” program and has provided resources to her campaign.

Democrats also believe they can flip the seat because of the party demographic changes that have taken place over the last quarter of a century.

In 1996, there were 360,000 registered Republicans in Nassau County, New York, which was more than 100,000 more than the Democrats had at the time, according to the New York Times. By 2019, the number of registered Democrats had ballooned to more than 400,000, while the number of Republicans had decreased from where it was 23 years prior by more than 30,000.

A similar demographic change occurred in Suffolk County. There, Republicans saw their registered voters increase by 18,000 people, while Democrats increased their party size by more than 160,000 people.

Tags: News, New York, 2020 Elections

Original Author: Mike Brest

Original Location: Retiring GOP stalwart Peter King’s House district now a toss-up

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