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On LI, Zeldin Wins Re-Election, Suozzi Replaces Israel

First District

Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin won a sweeping reelection victory in New York's 1st Congressional District. With all precincts reporting, Zeldin won by more than 50,000 votes.

In his victory speech, Zeldin gave a mostly positive message, touting the traditional Republican platform planks, but he also made concessions to his divided district.

“That’s right, Republicans talking about repairing our infrastructure. And talking about safeguarding our environment. That’s what we care about. And we’re going to make America great again,” Zeldin said without ever mentioning his candidate by name, Democrat Anna Throne-Holst.

"Victory is sweet," he said.

Zeldin's enthusiastic crowd of supporters repeatedly interrupted him to cheer for the latest state wins for fellow Republican Donald Trump. Zeldin praised Trump and vowed to support his message in Washington.

He said, "We are going to repeal and replace Obamacare. We are going to simplify our tax code. We are going to start negotiating better trade deals."

Not long after calling Zeldin and congratulating him on his re-election, Throne-Holst thanked her supporters saying they fought the good fight. She also called running for the Congress the privilege of a lifetime.

The Throne-Holst campaign deployed attack ads throughout the campaign, tying Zeldin to the candidate at the top of the Republican ticket, Donald Trump. But she was unable to close a 20-point gap leading up to the election and lost by more than 50,000 votes.

Suffolk County Democratic Committee Chair Rick Schaffer said polls show Trump with a commanding lead in the county that made it difficult for Democrats to overcome down the ballot. That and Throne-Holst's low name recognition made Zeldin a difficult candidate to beat.

Third District

Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi is heading to Washington after he won the race to succeed the retiring Steve Israel in New York’s 3rd Congressional District. He won against Republican State Senator Jack Martins.

As Suozzi thanked his supporters, he was aware that most were keeping one eye on the presidential race.

He said, “Regardless of who the next president of the United States is we need to do some soul searching. We have to figure out what’s going on in this country, and figure out how to bring people back together again, to work together to actually address the problems that we face in this country.”

He said now was the time for people of good will to come together for the good of the country.

Suozzi, who served as Nassau County executive from 2002 to 2009, kept the seat in the Democratic column. He had run on his experience as county executive, and his role in getting bipartisan support to get New York State to pass a property tax cap.

Martins congratulated his opponent on Tuesday night. He said he will continue to fight for the middle class, and support affordable healthcare and the environment.

"We saw the race coming together and closing rapidly at the end. But we came up short..." Martins said. At one point, Martins was down to Suozzi by 15 points in the polls, but lost by only five.

Martins, who gave up his Senate seat to run for Congress, is being touted as a possible candidate for Nassau County executive.

In addition to Tom Suozzi and Lee Zeldin’s wins, Representatives Peter King and Kathleen Rice retained their seats in the 2nd and 4th Congressional Districts, respectively.

In the New York state Senate, all the incumbents were re-elected on Long Island except for Republican Michael Venditto in the 8th District. He is the son of indicted Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto. Michael Venditto is not charged with any crime.

The incumbents in the state Assembly were all re-elected. And the free seats in the 16th and 20th Districts went to Democrat Anthony D’Urso and Republican Melissa Miller, respectively.

In the five towns on the East End, voters approved Proposition One to extend and increase funding for the Peconic Land Trust.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.
Terry Sheridan is an award-winning audio journalist. As part of his duties as Senior Director of News and Education, he developed a unique and award-winning internship program with the Stony Brook University School of Communications and Journalism, where he is also a lecturer and adjunct professor. He also mentors graduate fellows from the Sacred Heart University Graduate School of Communication, Media, and the Arts.
A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.