L. to R.: Nancy Goroff and Lee Zedin.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) declared victory Tuesday in his bid for a fourth term representing the East End of Long Island against Democratic challenger and Stony Brook University professor Nancy Goroff.

Zeldin was leading with 61 percent of the vote over Goroff, who had 38 percent, with about 90 percent of election districts reporting, according to unofficial early tallies from the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Goroff, a first-time political candidate, has not conceded the race.

“We need to come together when the election is over,” Zeldin told cheering supporters late Tuesday at a campaign event in Center Moriches. “We’re Americans first.”

Zeldin boasted the largest margin of any race, although the unusually large amount of absentee ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic could chip away at his the size of his lead once the mail-in votes are counted.

A large influx of New York City residents making their second homes in the Hamptons their full-time residences sparked speculation that the First Congressional District could be in play. But Zeldin’s victory proved otherwise.

The former New York State senator, Iraq War veteran, and ex-prosecutor made national headlines earlier this year when he became one of President Donald Trump’s chief defenders during the impeachment hearings.

Goroff’s campaign manager, Jacob Sarkozi, said the candidate intends to wait until the absentee ballots are counted.

“With tens of thousands of ballots left to be opened, we owe it to voters that every single one be counted,” he said.

As far as the other four members of the Long Island congressional delegation, New York State Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville) declared himself the winner over Democrat Jackie Gordon in his bid to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) is leading Republican challenger Douglas Tuman, U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) ran unopposed, and U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) is in a tight race that’s too close to call against GOP rival George Santos.

“As we await the final tally of all votes, we are confident of Congressman Tom Suozzi’s victory,” said Kim Devlin, a senior campaign advisor. “It is clear that Tom will win re-election by a substantial margin. Democrats hold a 3-1 advantage in the nearly 90k absentee votes yet to be counted and we expect Tom’s margin of victory to be over 20k votes.” 
 

Related Story: What To Expect On Election Night And Beyond

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.