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Congressional hopefuls get national support

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The race for New York’s 2nd Congressional District seat is heating up, even with current social distancing guidelines in place. At the beginning of the year, local candidates were jockeying for endorsements from Long Island political committees and elected officials, hoping to jump out as party favorites. Now congressional hopefuls are fishing for national backers — and they have caught some.

The 2nd Congressional District covers Seaford and most of Wantagh, and extends into Suffolk County. The district’s makeup may change after the current census because of reapportionment.

Earlier this year, Long Island Republican leaders announced the party would back State Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino, a Republican from Sayville, in the race to succeed Seaford Republican Rep. Peter King.

King, who is completing his 13th term, announced late last year that he would not seek a 14th. The race to succeed him has drawn national attention because of his prominence, as well as his friendship with President Trump.

The Republican Main Street Partnership, a political action committee, last week an-nounced its endorsement of Garbarino to succeed King, a RMSP member.

“Andrew Garbarino is a Long Island native with an acute understanding of its issues,” said Sarah Chamberlain, RMSP’s chief executive officer. “His proven track record of conservative values makes Garbarino a natural successor to retiring RMSP PAC Member Rep. Pete King.”

RMSP focuses on creating “specially tailored” programs that teach suburban candidates how to win their districts. According to a news release, its class entitled Suburban Candidate School teaches skills such as “addressing suburban women, working with unions, building a boots-on-the-ground campaign, discussing the environment and targeting ads via social media.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also taken a stand behind the Suffolk County assemblyman. Last week, it was reported the chamber would endorse Garbarino, making him the first down-ticket candidate that the organization is supporting at this time.

The national attention that Garbarino has received comes shortly before a June 23 primary, in which Garbarino faces first-term State Assemblyman Mike LiPetri.

U.S. army veteran, former Town of Babylon trustee and educator Jackie Gordon has positioned herself as the Democratic favorite in the June 23 primary. Gordon was one of the few candidates to express her intention to run for King’s seat before his retirement announcement late last year. She faces Patricia Maher in the June primary.

Gordon received backing from the National Democratic Campaign Committee in January. Since then, she has continued to garner national attention.

Most recently, on May 8, Gordon announced that California’s junior senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris had endorsed her.

Harris said, “We need Jackie’s voice in Congress. As a combat veteran, immigrant, educator and public servant, Jackie understands the complexities of the issues facing working and middle class families today. Just as she has already served her country and her community, I know that Jackie will be a powerful advocate for Long Island in Congress, and I am proud to endorse her.”

This is one of the first down-ticket endorsements Harris has made in 2020.

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of Senator Harris . . .,” Gordon said. “We have built an incredible coalition of support here on the ground, from teachers, veterans, small business owners and community leaders who want to see real change in the 2nd District. It means so much to have Senator Harris lending her support to our movement.”

Harris joins Democratic colleagues Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, and Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, in endorsing Gordon for the seat. In the last two weeks, Gordon has also received the endorsement of former Rep. Gabby Giffords’ PAC, the National Organization of Women and the New Dem Action Fund. As a longtime educator, Gordon said she was also proud to receive the endorsement of New York State United Teachers.