Long Island Voters Guide 2022
Voters will choose new congressional representatives in three districts on Long Island this Election Day, Nov. 8, amid an unusual wave of turnover in the current campaign cycle.
Here are the eight candidates asking voters to send them to Congress this fall in the four districts that cover Nassau and Suffolk counties.
1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who is forgoing re-election in a bid to unseat Gov. Kathy Hochul, has represented this East End district since 2015. It has been redistricted to include the North Shore of Suffolk County.
The Suffolk County Republican Committee nominated Nicholas LaLota, a former commissioner of the Suffolk Board of Elections and ex-Village of Amityville trustee who currently serves as chief of staff to Suffolk Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst). The U.S. Navy veteran hopes to help flip the U.S. House of Representatives from its current Democratic majority.
“A top issue of mine, along with many Americans, is fixing our economy, lowering taxes, and combating inflation,” LaLota tweeted. “In Congress, I will support conservative economic policies and help to pass legislation that puts more money into the pockets of hard-working Americans.”
Three-term Suffolk Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac), the Democratic nominee in the race who has represented the South Fork since 2016, had placed last in 2020’s three-way Democratic primary in that year’s race to unseat Zeldin, but faced no challengers this time. She previously served on the Southampton Town Council and as a Manhattan prosecutor.
“I know what Long Islanders expect and deserve from their representatives,” she said, billing herself as a problem solver who works well with law enforcement. “I know how to work across the aisle to deliver the solutions people on Long Island need right now.”
2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Freshman U.S. Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino (R-Sayville), the only LI congressman seeking re-election, represents the South Shore from Massapequa to the Moriches.
ANDREW R. GARBARINO
This former New York State assemblyman voted against impeaching then-U.S. President Donald Trump after Congress charged Trump with inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol. Garbarino voted for certifying President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election and later backed Biden’s infrastructure funding law, but opposed Biden’s Build Back Better bill.
“When we take back the House … the Republican majority is going to put a much-needed check on the Biden White House and focus on the issues that matter most to Long Islanders: addressing rising crime, securing our border, and getting our economy back on track,” he said.
Former Babylon Town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon (D-Copiague), a combat veteran, retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, and educator, is seeking a rematch against Garbarino after losing to him in 2020.
“Washington needs leaders who understand the struggle working families on Long Island face,” she said. “As a veteran, an educator, a union member, and the first Black woman on the Babylon Town Council, I know how to bring people together to solve our toughest problems.”
3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Three-term U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) opted to mount his second losing gubernatorial bid instead of seeking re-election, leaving open this seat representing the North Shore of Nassau and eastern Queens.
ROBERT P. ZIMMERMAN
Robert Zimmerman is a publicist and Democratic National Committee member from Great Neck. One of Zimmerman’s top priorities is to combat gun violence.
“We have to restore people’s confidence that our government is there for them,” Zimmerman said. “Too many feel overlooked and unseen. It is my commitment to lift up the voices of those who are not being heard. Whether it’s veterans, middle-class families trying to balance the pressures of everyday living, or our senior citizens, people in our communities deserve to have a member of Congress that they can trust will have their back.”
GEORGE A.D. SANTOS
Republican George A.D. Santos, an economist from Queens who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Suozzi two years ago, is devoted to upholding the ideals of the American Dream, and hopes to refocus the government on the American people rather than the special interests of politicians.
“I’m a next-generation Republican and I’m in this fight to bring common-sense solutions to Washington,” Santos said. “I will fight to make sure the people of New York’s Third Congressional District have quality healthcare.”
If either Santos or Zimmerman win, he would be the first openly gay member of Congress to represent Long Island.
4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Four-term U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), who represents most of the southern half of Nassau, opted out of seeking re-election earlier this year.
LAURA A. GILLEN
In 2017, Laura Gillen became the first Democratic supervisor of the Town of Hempstead in a century, where she served one term.
Before being elected supervisor, she was an attorney and adjunct professor of law at Hofstra University. If elected to Congress, she hopes to take on the affordability crisis as well as advocate for gun safety, women’s reproductive rights, mental health, voting rights, and much more.
“Our campaign and our country is one step closer to ensuring that women have access to the care that they need and that they have autonomy over their own medical decisions,” she said upon winning her Democratic primary. “We are one step closer to cracking down on illegal guns and the gun violence that plagues our communities and our schools and protecting our children.”
ANTHONY P. D’ESPOSITO
Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony P. D’Esposito (R-Island Park) is a former New York City Police Department detective running as the law-and-order candidate in the race. He was first appointed in 2016 and was re-elected to another four-year term last year.
He recently visited the El Paso region of Texas to learn more about immigration issues.
“In Congress, I pledge to restore order to our southern border region,” he said, adding that he will “empower America’s brave law enforcement professionals who work tirelessly to prevent criminals and their harmful contraband from flowing into our country.”
State Senate Candidates
Voters will also be casting ballots to decide which of the 18 candidates will represent them in the nine New York State Senate districts, which have proven pivotal in past elections.
If the races are anything like prior years, the results in these races could determine whether Democrats or Republicans have a majority in the chamber, which currently is in Democratic control.
Here are the candidates running for the state Senate in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Freshman State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), a former state Assemblyman and ex-Suffolk prosecutor who represents the East End, is seeking a second term, and serves on the Senate Codes and Ethics and Internal Governance Committee. Repealing the state’s bail reforms and increasing aid to assist people with special needs have been among his top priorities.
The Democratic candidate vying to unseat Palumbo serves as the vice chair of outreach for the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee. He previously ran in the Democratic primary for this seat in 2020. He threw his hat in the ring after candidate Laura Ahearn dropped out of her planned rematch in February.
Freshman State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James), a former plumbers union official whose district includes the towns of Huntington and Smithtown, is seeking a second term. He is the ranking member of the Consumer Protection and the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. His priorities have included electrifying the Port Jefferson branch of the Long Island Rail Road, law enforcement and cost–of-living issues.
The Democratic candidate seeking to unseat Mattera is former two-term Suffolk Legislator Susan Berland of Commack, who was unseated in 2020 and previously served 16 years on the Huntington Town Council. She previously served as a New York State Assistant Attorney General in the Prisoners Litigation Division where she prosecuted parole violators.
The Democrat running for this district in the Town of Brookhaven, which does not have an incumbent running for re-election, previously ran for the Longwood Central School District board and worked with the nonprofit Domestic Harmony Foundation. If elected, he would be the youngest state senator in New York history.
This Republican former state Assemblyman — he was unseated after one term in 2012, won his seat back and then mounted an unsuccessful state Senate campaign in 2018 — is a businessman from East Patchogue. Among the campaign issues he has raised has been calling for the repeal of bail reform and opposing the state’s new congestion pricing plan that would create a new toll for driving into part of Manhattan.
This former educator, ex-Suffolk legislator and one-term state Senator who was unseated in 2020 is making a comeback bid in a newly redrawn district in which Hispanic residents make up the majority. There is no incumbent seeking reelection in this district, which includes central Suffolk communities such as Brentwood and Central Islip.
A small business owner for over 20 years in the Brentwood-Central Islip community, Wendy Rodriguez has billed herself as an independent voice who will work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to repeal the bail reform, expand access to mental health care, help combat homelessness and fight for good-paying jobs for her constituents, if elected.
Two-term State Sen. John Brooks (D-Massapequa), who was drafted to seek a third term after initially announcing plans to bow out of the race, is chairman of the Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs. Among his top priorities has been government transparency, helping address high taxes, and increasing state aid to local school districts.
STEVEN D. RHOADS
Nassau Legislator Steven D. Rhoads (R-Bellmore), who was first elected to the county legislature in 2015, is running for the district that includes the towns of Hempstead and the central portion of the Town of Oyster Bay. Issues he has prioritized include congestion pricing, bail reform, and helping constituents with disabilities.
Two-term state Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Hicksville), whose district includes central Nassau and parts of the county’s South Shore, is chairman of the Committee on Consumer Protection. He is the first Indian-American in New York history to serve in the State Senate. He had championed legislation to protect consumers’ private information, expand economic opportunities for families, and combat the growing student loan debt crisis.
Retired NYPD detective James Coll, who has run for various elected offices on Long Island over the years, is focusing on public concerns about crime in his latest campaign. Among the issues he has raised on the campaign are repealing bail reform and calling for a crackdown on crime on public transit.
Two-term state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills), whose district includes the North Shore of Nassau, is chair of the Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business. She is the first Iranian-American elected to the State Senate. Her priorities include cracking down on hate crimes, passing gun control legislation, and increasing state aid for local school districts.
A former Village of Mineola mayor, ex-state senator and one-time candidate for Nassau County executive, Jack Martins is also a real estate developer. The Republican challenger is aiming to make his political comeback by running for his old senate seat. He has taken issue with congestion pricing, bail reform and crime.
Freshman state Sen. Alexis Weik (R-Sayville), the former Townof Islip tax collector, is switching districts from her current seat to the one held by retiring state Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), whose redrawn district stretches from Bayport to Massapequa. She is the ranking member on the Budget and Reserve and Social Services Committee.
A Suffolk Board of Elections worker who previously ran for this seat and for the county legislature, John Alberts of North Babylon is running on a platform of reducing the high cost of living on Long Island and working with policymakers to help foster the creation of more high-paying jobs in the region.
Bellerose Village Mayor Kenneth Moore is the Democratic candidate running for the open seat in southwestern Nassau district that was represented by state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who resigned in April after declining to seek re-election. The former union leader lists his priorities as taxes, crime, protecting the environment, women’s rights, and gun reform.
Deputy Malverne Village Mayor Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick, the Republican candidate in this race, has prioritized quality of life issues, holding the line on taxes and improving public safety in her time in village office. If elected, she will work for less taxes and more accountability.