Republican Takes Peter King's Seat in Race Against Anti-Police Dem

Congressional candidate Andrew Garbarino (R., N.Y.) speaks to a crowd / Twitter
November 18, 2020

New York assemblyman Andrew Garbarino (R.) picked up the seat of retiring Long Island Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) in a decisive victory over a Democratic candidate who touted ties to anti-police groups.

Democrat Jackie Gordon called Garbarino Wednesday evening to concede the race over two weeks after Election Day. Garbarino ultimately defeated Gordon with 56.9 percent of the vote to Gordon's 42.2 percent. The electoral returns indicate a significant polling error, as the Cook Political Report rated the race a tossup.

"I am honored and excited to succeed Congressman Peter King and represent New York's 2nd Congressional District in Washington," Garbarino wrote in a statement. "In addition to supporting small businesses and fighting to lower taxes, I look forward to working with our brave law enforcement to keep communities safe, fighting to preserve our environment, supporting our veterans, and delivering real results for Long Island families."

Pro-police voters proved decisive in the race for New York's second district, as Gordon courted activists calling to defund the police while giving local police unions the cold shoulder during the campaign.

Garbarino will take up King's post in 2021, carrying on the legacy of one of the House's most national-security focused members.

This phenomenon proved true across Long Island, according to Republican candidate George Santos, who lost to Rep. Tom Suozzi (D., N.Y.) by an unexpectedly razor-thin margin this year.

"There was a blue wave, but it's not the blue wave Democrats counted on," Santos told the Washington Free Beacon. "It's the back-the-blue wave, it's the law and order wave … that's the wave that we're seeing on Long Island. The public will never vote against law enforcement, law and order, and public safety."

Other races seem to also enjoy the same "back-the-blue" wave Santos described. In New York's first district, also on Long Island, Republican incumbent Lee Zeldin enjoys a 20-plus point margin over Democratic challenger Nancy Goroff in a race that has not yet been officially called. Goroff faced criticism on the campaign trail for calling cops "dangerous."

Garbarino will join fellow freshman New York Republican congresswoman-elect Nicole Malliotakis in Washington next year. Malliotakis bested incumbent Democrat Max Rose by a large margin in a race called last week.

Republicans lead in the vote count in three other New York House districts, though the races have not yet been called.