Republican Andrew Garbarino wins retiring Rep. Peter King's seat

An open U.S. House seat on Long Island that was held by veteran Republican lawmaker Peter King for almost 30 years will remain in GOP hands.

Republican state Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino defeated Democrat Jackie Gordon, a former school guidance counselor and retired U.S. Army Reserve officer, in the race for New York's 2nd congressional district, which covers parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties.

With all precincts reporting, Garbarino won 53% of the vote to Gordon's 46%. More than a month after Election Day, Suffolk County elections officials publicly released absentee ballot tallies, confirming victories by Republicans Garbarino and Rep. Lee Zeldin

After serving 14 terms in Congress, King decided to not seek re-election. He campaigned hard for Garbarino, 36, who presented himself as King's natural successor — someone who appeals to white blue-collar suburban voters, many of whom have voted for Democrats, including Barack Obama for president.

"I know what's important to Long Island families. I know what's important to Long Islanders," Garbarino said at a recent online candidate forum. Like King, he said, he would work with Democrats to do "what was right for Long Island."

Garbarino also said he would work on legislation to protect the environment and fight the opioid crisis.

"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," he told FOX 5 NY in October.

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Gordon's platform was centered on creating jobs and focusing on clean and renewable energy options.

"We need to preserve and protect the Affordable Care Act, bring down the cost of prescription drugs and ensure protections with preexisting conditions," she said in October.

Gordon, 55, an immigrant from Jamaica, grew up in Queens. She served as an officer in the military for 29 years with tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay. In 2014, she retired from the Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel.

Although registered Democrats slightly outnumber Republicans in the district, the seat was long considered safe for the GOP due to King's bipartisan appeal. His absence from the ballot turned the race into a tossup and prompted millions in spending.

With The Associated Press