Island Vote: 1st District race garners national attention
A Long Island congressional race is garnering national attention as Republicans look to hang onto seats in the House and Democrats try to scoop up some more.
The closely watched 1st District race pits first-term Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) against Democratic challenger Anna Throne-Holst, a former Southampton town supervisor. The campaign has gotten testy as Election Day draws near, and outside money has flowed in as members of both national parties see it as a winnable race.
"It is a true swing district," says political consultant Mike Dawidziak. "But it's also a district where issues count, and certain issues you have to go to the right on and certain issues you have to go to the left on. A perfect example is the environment --you can't NOT go left."
The 1st Congressional District stretches from the rural areas of eastern Suffolk into the more crowded suburban areas of Brookhaven and Smithtown. It's a district where voters are known for their independence. They've elected Republicans and Democrats alike, and they're not afraid to change who they send to Washington.
In the days leading up to the election, both candidates are making their case.
"I have a track record of reaching across the aisle and getting things done," says Throne-Holst. "I have eight years in town government, and as supervisor, the buck stops with you. If you can't get people to work together, no one can. That was my job, and we delivered."
Zeldin says he, too, can work across the aisle. "Everything I'm proud of that I've accomplished in my four years in the state Senate, and my 21 months in Washington was the result of Republicans and Democrats working together," he says.