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Liuba Grechen Shirley wins Democratic congressional primary

Political newcomer will take on Republican Peter King in November


Liuba Grechen Shirley will square off against 13-term Republican Rep. Peter King in the November midterms, after defeating DuWayne Gregory in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary.

"After nine months, tens of thousands of doors knocked and phone calls made, dozens of meet and greets, rallies, and a protest here or there, I’m honored and so deeply humbled to accept the Democratic nomination for New York’s 2nd Congressional District,” Grechen Shirley, a political newcomer, said in a statement late Tuesday night.

During the Primary campaign, Grechen Shirley and Gregory stressed the importance of defeating King, both tying the congressman to President Donald Trump, whose immigration policies have been a flashpoint of debate in New York and nationally, and whose national approval rating has never broken the 50 percent mark.

Shirley referred to King as Trump’s “best friend,” while Gregory said that he acted like the president’s “Siamese twin,” in published reports.

“One thing I think Liuba and I agree on is that we are lacking not only leadership, but we’re lacking the presence of our person that is representing us in Washington,” Gregory said in a Levittown debate earlier this month.

Shirley, during the campaign, earned national attention by scoring a Federal Election Commission ruling that allowed her to use campaign donations for childcare. Former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supported Shirley’s FEC fight, but also, earlier this month, re-Tweeted Gregory, noting that, “We need to elect politicians who will protect the vulnerable.”

Gregory conceded Tuesday’s Primary after published reports indicated Grechen Shirley had won by a margin of 16 percent.

"Tonight's result is not what we wanted, but our mission remains the same: We must defeat Peter King in November,” Gregory said. “It was a spirited race, and I hope to see this kind of enthusiasm from the Democratic Party ahead of the general election. I have dedicated my life to serving our community and country, and tonight's result will not change that commitment.”

District 2, which includes Wantagh, Seaford and Levittown, is considered solidly Republican by most political analysts. However the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has made King’s seat a target, indicating that Trump’s unpopularity could give Democrats a fighting chance in November.

“Liuba Gretchen Shirley has already shown she is not afraid to fight for what is right, and her commanding performance in this primary indicates real momentum behind her campaign,” said DCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján on Wednesday. “Liuba has spent her career empowering working families here and abroad, and has made the race for New York’s 2nd District one to watch.”

The national midterm elections will be held on Nov. 6.