In an election night that not many will soon forget, Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino, a Suffolk County Republican, took a commanding 54.32 percent lead in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Peter King in New York’s Second Congressional District, against Democrat Jackie Gordon, a former Babylon town counselor and retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel.
In a district that crosses county lines along Long Island’s South Shore, Gordon collected 38.30 percent of the vote by early Wednesday morning.
With 82 percent of precincts reporting in the two counties, Garbarino has secured 156,042 votes, against Gordon’s 110,024, while Green Party candidate Harry R. Burger has totaled 2,536. The district has slightly fewer than 500,000 registered voters, more than 60 percent of whom live in Suffolk County.
The Nassau portion of the district skewed heavily Republican, with 52,962 votes for Garbarino at press time, against Gordon’s 25,366. Burger accumulated a scant 626.
In Suffolk County, where Gordon depended on a strong showing from her Democratic base, Garbarino outpolled her by more than 15,000 votes, with a total tally of 98,234 for the Republican assemblyman, against 83,045 for Gordon.
Slightly more than half of the district’s registered voters’ ballots were tallied by early Wednesday morning in an election that had been expected to generate heavy turnout, but Garbarino sat with a comfortable lead.
By press time, the Garbarino campaign did not return repeated calls for comment on his lead.
The Gordon campaign released a statement to the Herald at 12:54 a.m. on Wednesday, saying, “With the unprecedented number of Long Islanders casting absentee ballots this year, it is clear that this election will not be called anytime soon. To certify the results of this election, every vote must be counted, and we look forward to seeing the final results.”
More than 44,000 absentee ballots remained to be counted going into Wednesday.
In the 4th Congressional District, covering the northern part of Wantagh and a portion of Seaford, incumbent Democratic Congresswoman and former Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice secured what appeared to be an insurmountable lead against her Republican challenger, Douglas Tuman. Rice, the odds-on favorite going into the race, was ahead by nearly 5 percent at press time.
In one of the evening’s upsets, freshman N.Y. State Sen. Kevin Thomas, a Levittown Democrat, went down to defeat against veteran Nassau Republican politician Dennis Dunne Sr., currently serving as a Town of Hempstead councilman, by a margin of 49.4 percent to 43.0 percent
In other races, incumbent Republican assemblymen David McDonough and John Mikulin handily defeated their Democratic challengers in the 14th and 17th Assembly Districts, respectively.
Democratic State Sen. John Brooks was unopposed in the 8th Senate District.