Decisions to run for office and retirements have resulted in more competitive primaries and races on Long Island than in recent memory, according to Larry Levy, executive dean of Hofstra’s National Center for Suburban Studies.
Levy told Capital Tonight that the road to a majority in the House of Representatives goes through suburban communities like Long Island, which he says is the “quintessential American suburb.”
Long Island is home to four congressional districts and is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. This year, three of the four incumbents decided to run for governor (Lee Zeldin and Tom Suozzi) or retire (Kathleen Rice). Levy said that since the Republican Party’s ideological shift in the 1990s, suburban women have drifted away from the party and transformed Long Island and other suburban areas, which were Republican strongholds, into some of the last competitive battlegrounds of the country
Levy said the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District, which is currently held by Republican Andrew Barbarino, will be a “referendum on where the suburban Republicans are.” The Democratic primaries for the 3rd and 4th districts have all wings of the Democratic Party facing off, according to Levy. In the 4th District, Levy said a divisive primary could lead the party to defeat in November.
Tuesday night’s primary will be the second of two primaries in New York with races that will decide candidates for Congress and the state Senate for the November general election. Voters registered with a political party will be able to vote in their party’s primaries.