- Rep. Kathleen Rice said she warned Democratic leaders about election losses on Long Island ahead of the midterms.
- During an interview with Politico, Rice said leaders ignored his call and highlighted Biden’s victory in his district.
- Rep. Lee Zeldin produced strong tails for GOP candidates on the lower ballot in his gubernatorial bid.
For much of the 20th century, Long Island was a well-known Republican stronghold, serving as a counterweight to New York’s heavily Democratic politics.
From the 1990s through much of the past decade, Democrats made significant gains in Nassau and Suffolk counties, winning congressional districts and local offices that for years had favored Republican politicians.
But in recent years, Republicans have clawed back some of their strength, winning the county executive and district attorney races in Nassau in November 2021, while also winning the district attorney race in Suffolk this year. -the. While former President Donald Trump lost New York State resoundingly in 2016 and 2020, he won Suffolk each time.
Midway through November, despite the outperformance of Democrats in the country’s suburbs, Republicans had a major year in New York State, winning every congressional district anchored on Long Island – despite Democrats holding an advantage party registration in Nassau and Suffolk and controlling the Hudson Valley and upstate districts.
And four-term Democratic incumbent Kathleen Rice, who will be replaced by elected GOP Rep. Anthony D’Esposito next week, said in a recent interview with Politico that she sounded the alarm to party leaders about her intuition about the state of the situation. in Long Island before the mid-terms.
Rice, a moderate who represents the Long Island-based 4th congressional district and previously served as Nassau County’s prosecutor for nearly a decade, told the outlet that her warnings about the dire prospects for Democrats in suburban New York had remained a dead letter. .
“It’s a blue, blue state, and that’s why we lost the majority,” Rice said. “We lost four seats in the House. I said [to party leaders], ‘You don’t understand, we’re going to lose Long Island. And we will lose other places, higher. They said, ‘No, no, no, your seat was a Biden +13.'”
“When we had an election in November 2021, every Democrat on Long Island lost. Not because they weren’t popular and not because people didn’t like them. But they wanted to send a message to Washington.” , she added.
While President Joe Biden easily won Rice’s district in 2020, his standing among many independents has taken a hit since then, despite the party holding onto midterm. Faced with the prospect of electing a swathe of GOP candidates who rejected bipartisanship and continued to deny Biden’s 2020 victory, voters supported Democratic candidates in such dramatic fashion that the GOP severely under-voted. performed nationally.
In November, the GOP gubernatorial candidate was Lee Zeldin, a retired Long Island congressman who lost a competitive race to Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul. Zeldin pared the normally massive Democratic advantage statewide as his tailgates helped elect D’Esposito, as well as elected GOP Reps. Nick LaLota and George Santos, to districts anchored on Long Island. (In recent days, Santos has come under fire for a growing list of misrepresentations about his background after a New York Times investigation uncovered inconsistencies in his work history and finances.)
In a state that voted for Biden by 23 points (61%-38%) in 2020, GOP victories in New York state — fueled by a focus on economic and public safety issues — gave the party a very slim majority in the United States House. .
Democrats, who still retain control of the governor’s mansion and the state legislature, while holding both U.S. Senate seats, remain the dominant force in state politics.
However, midterm reviews have proven that while the Republican brand on Long Island may have faltered in the 1990s and 2000s, it certainly has not today.