Fleming’s Rivals Step Down After New Congressional District Lines are Finalized

Bridget Fleming (with megaphone) at a recent rally in Riverhead in support of the Roe Vs. Wade Supreme Court decision.

South Fork Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming is now the only Democratic running for the First Congressional District seat currently held by Congressman Lee Zeldin, after her fellow legislator, Kara Hahn, suspended her campaign for the seat and former Babylon Town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon said she would seek to run in the Second Congressional District.

The shakeup in the Democratic primary comes after the First Congressional District lines, which have shifted widely over the past year, were redrawn and finalized last week.

Former Suffolk County Board of Elections Republican Commissioner and Village of Amityville Trustee Nick LaLota has received Republican and Conservative party backing in the race, though he is facing a primary from Anthony Figliola of East Setauket and Cait Corrigan of Patchogue. While Amityville is not in the First Congressional District, there is no federal residency requirement that members of Congress live in the district they represent. Mr. LaLota has said he intends to move into the First Congressional District if elected. Mr. Zeldin is running for Governor of New York State.

Original lines, which are redrawn every 10 years using updated figures from the U.S. Census, were approved this winter by the Democratic-majority State Legislature after the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission couldn’t reach a consensus on district boundaries. The legislature carved out a thin swath of the center of Long Island that leans heavily Democratic to be included in the First Congressional District. After Republicans sued over the lines, the new district lines were drawn up by a court-appointed special master and approved May 20. They return the district to an area similar to its prior boundaries. This change puts CD-01 solidly back into swing district territory.

Due to the lawsuit and redrawn lines, primaries in this race and the New York State Senate race have pushed back to Aug. 23 from their original date of June 28. New York’s gubernatorial and state assembly primaries will still be held June 28. The deadline for candidates to file nominating petitions for the August primary has also been extended to June 10, 2022.

The redrawn lines have real significance for candidates like Jackie Gordon, who lived in CD-01 under the lines drawn by Democrats over the winter, but now lives again in CD-02, where she ran for Congress two years ago.

“I’ve said throughout this campaign that I intend to represent my home community, and I will run in the district I live in, which is NY-02,” said Jackie Gordon on Twitter May 21. “I’m running for Congress because all Long Islanders, from working families to veterans to seniors, deserve a community-oriented leader who will deliver real and meaningful results, and I’m committed to being that leader.”

After Ms. Gordon left the First Congressional District race, Legislator Kara Hahn didn’t take long to make up her mind.

“With the future of our democracy, fundamental rights, and the environment at stake, we have a critical mission and Democratic unity is the most important thing we can bring to the fight,” said Ms. Hahn in a statement backing Ms. Fleming. “This is why I am supporting my colleague Bridget Fleming, and I hope all my supporters will join me in working to flip this seat.”

“New York’s First Congressional District is now one of the most competitive districts in the country,” said Ms. Fleming, who thanked Ms. Hahn for her work, in the Legislature and on the campaign trail this spring, in a May 23 statement. “The path to the majority runs through Long Island, and Long Islanders need a champion in Washington. A champion for workers. A champion for the environment. A champion for women’s rights. A champion for all. While we still have a lot to do, I am confident that we will continue to build a strong movement that advances our interests as Long Islanders and deliver a win in November.”

If elected, Ms. Fleming would be the first women to represent the East End in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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