Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives bragged for months of an incoming “blue wave” of victories in the run-up to the November 3 elections, only to end up getting destroyed by an unprecedented number of Republicans flipping seats from blue to red all over the country.
And as of Friday, another seat in the House is officially red. Republican New York state Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino defeated his Democrat challenger to win the coveted New York 2nd Congressional District seat.
The result of the election was called by the Associated Press nearly a month after election day because Suffolk County, New York just now released results of a number of absentee ballots, which gave Garbarino the win.
Thanks, Peter King
The 2nd District seat was made available thanks to the retiring of veteran former lawmaker Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who announced in November 2019 that he was retiring after serving 14 terms in Congress. Shortly after, Democrat challenger Jackie Gordon and Garbarino would end up in a battle to claim the vacancy.
King, a Republican, had more bipartisan appeal in his district than the typical GOP lawmaker and worked overtime to endorse Garbarino for the seat, even in a district that had a majority of Democratic voters.
King’s endorsement and Garbarino’s appeal to white, blue-collar suburban voters in the Long Island area would eventually work in Garbarino’s favor, winning him the seat with 53 percent of support to Gordon’s 46 percent of support, according to Fox 5 New York.
Even though the seat was somewhat of a safe bet thanks to King’s reputation and political street credit behind Garbarino, Democrats aggressively pursued a win, spending millions to boost Gordon’s profile — a strategy that would eventually end up in a loss.
Suffolk County voters were drawn to Garbarino’s campaign promises, as the 36-year-old candidate focused on a number of hot button issues that appeal to both sides, including pledging to work across the aisle to complete a much-needed COVID-19 relief bill.
“We’re focusing on a COVID relief bill to help municipalities so we don’t have to lay-off workers and increase taxes, repealing SALT tax deduction and an infrastructure spending bill,” Garbarino said in October.
The young candidate also promised to work with the other side on environmental issues as well as continue to make strides in the fight to control the opioid crisis, which has been exacerbated by months of harsh lockdowns imposed on American citizens during the pandemic.
Like many other Democrats around the country, Gordon focused her attention on preserving the Affordable Care Act — an issue that Democrats rallied behind for a bulk of the 2020 election but mostly failed to capitalize on, given the more pressing concerns facing the country.
Garbarino joins Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) in winning over Suffolk County voters, as Zeldin celebrated his Republican victory in the fight to win New York’s 1st Congressional District seat last week.