State Senator Kevin Thomas has officially announced his candidacy for New York’s Fourth Congressional District (NY-04).
Thomas, a Democrat who represents the sixth district of the New York State Senate, aims to unseat the incumbent Rep. Anthony D’Esposito in the 2024 election — which will, of course, feature a presidential race at the top of the ballot.
Kevin Thomas’s political history
Kevin Thomas was first elected to the State Senate in 2018, scoring an upset victory over the long-serving Republican Kemp Hannon by a margin of about 50-49. He is the first Indian-American to serve in the State Senate.
Thomas was re-elected in 2020, surviving an election night scare where challenger Dennis Dunne appeared to be ahead of Thomas until absentee ballots were counted.
In 2022, Kevin Thomas won re-election comfortably over Republican challenger James Coll, a retired New York City Police Department detective and Nassau Community College adjunct professor.
“I’ve accomplished real results for Nassau County families,” Kevin Thomas said in a news release announcing his candidacy. “Fighting to stop property tax hikes, clean up our drinking water, guarantee the right to an abortion under New York law, keep guns out of the wrong hands, and ensure our neighborhoods stay affordable and safe.”
What does the primary look like for Kevin Thomas?
According to Ballotpedia, Kevin Thomas is entering a crowded 2024 Democratic primary for NY-04, joining candidates Lawrence Henry, Sarah Hughes, Gian Jones, and Patricia Maher.
The most notable of Thomas’s primary opponents is former Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen.
Gillen served as Hempstead’s town supervisor from 2017 to 2019, and was the first Democrat in 100 years to serve in that position. She lost her 2019 re-election bid to Donald X. Clavin.
Gillen ran for this seat in 2022, and won the primary with relative ease, defeating former Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett, Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages, and Dr. Muzib Huq.
However, her general election bid against then-Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony D’Esposito fell short, with D’Esposito winning by a margin of about 52 to 48 percent.
It was a mild upset since the seat had been previously held by Kathleen Rice, a Democrat.
Though her loss to D’Esposito could carry some baggage for a primary election, Gillen’s name recognition among NY-04 residents as a former town supervisor and the relative closeness of the 2022 race could help earn her a second chance to go to Washington.
How does a potential general election look for Kevin Thomas?
Barring a successful Republican primary challenge to D’Esposito, whoever wins the Democratic primary will be facing him.
NY-04’s 2022 results — as well as the fact that Joe Biden won it in 2020 — indicate it is a swing district, and turnout is guaranteed to be higher in 2024 due to the presidential election.
Rep. D’Esposito won election in 2022 by the smallest margin among Long Island’s four congressmen.
Republican Rep. Nick LaLota defeated Democrat Bridget Fleming by a margin of about 55 to 45 percent, while Republican Rep. Andrew Garbarino defeated Democrat Jackie Gordon in a rematch by a wide margin — the Associated Press called the race as Garbarino led Gordon 60 to 39 percent with 87 percent of the ballots counted.
Even embattled Rep. George Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman by a margin of about 54 to 46 percent — although it should be noted that this was before Santos’s background was called into question.
Kevin Thomas launched his campaign with an attack on D’Esposito, despite the long road ahead to the general election.
“I’ve proven I can get things done to make life better for folks on Long Island, while MAGA Republicans like Anthony D’Esposito offer up extremism and political games that only make things worse,” Thomas said. “Now, more than ever, we need action. I’m ready to take this fight to Washington to be an effective voice for Long Islanders at a time when we need it the most.”