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Maloney reelected; Gordon concedes to GOP’s Garbarino

November 19, 2020 GMT
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FILE - This photo from Thursday Nov. 21, 2019, shows Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., during a meeting of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Maloney is running for re-election in New York's 18th congressional district race. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
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FILE - This photo from Thursday Nov. 21, 2019, shows Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., during a meeting of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Maloney is running for re-election in New York's 18th congressional district race. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is returning to Congress for his fifth term after winning reelection in a battleground district in New York’s Hudson Valley.

The Democrat defeated Republican challenger Chele Farley, who was making her second bid to go to Washington. She also ran for the U.S. Senate in 2018, losing to Kirsten Gillibrand.

The race was too tight to decide on Election Day, but The Associated Press declared Maloney the winner Thursday after an analysis of absentee ballots determined Farley couldn’t overcome Maloney’s lead.

New York’s 18th Congressional District is one of the just a few in the U.S. where voters favored President Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but picked a Democrat to represent them in Congress. Maloney was New York’s first openly gay member of Congress when he was first elected in 2012.

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His victory in New York City’s northernmost suburbs became clear as Republicans were celebrating an apparent win east of the city.

Democrat Jackie Gordon conceded to Republican Andrew Garbarino in a closely watched battle to succeed a longtime Republican congressman in a swing district on Long Island’s South Shore.

Garbarino, a four-term state assemblyman, battled to replace U.S. Rep. Peter King in New York’s 2nd Congressional District.

Garbarino built a comfortable lead on Election Day. The Associated Press has not declared a winner because of the large number of absentee ballots cast in the race, but Gordon conceded on Wednesday.

“I am honored and excited to succeed Congressman Peter King, and represent New York’s 2nd Congressional District in Washington,” Garbarino said. “In addition to supporting small businesses and fighting to lower taxes, I look forward to working with our brave law enforcement to keep communities safe, fighting to preserve our environment, supporting our veterans, and delivering real results for Long Island families.”

King, 76, announced last year that would retire in January after 28 years in office rather than stand for reelection in the increasingly diverse, Democratic-leaning district.

A lifelong Long Islander, Garbarino, 36, has portrayed himself as a natural successor to King and was often accompanied by the retiring lawmaker on the campaign trail. He’s the son of a local party leader and runs a small law firm.

In a district that’s home to many police officers, Garbarino aired TV commercials featuring the slogan “back the blue,” was endorsed by the region’s major police unions and suggested that Gordon wound defund police, which she denied.

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Gordon emigrated to New York from Jamaica when she was 7. She served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a military police officer for 29 years, fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and retired in 2014 as a lieutenant colonel. She was also a school guidance counselor and served on the Babylon Town Council for 12 years.

In Congress, Garbarino said he would push for a new infrastructure spending bill, relief for small businesses battered by coronavirus and environmental protections for the island’s waterways.

National Democratic and Republican committees and other groups spent more than $10 million on the race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, mostly on attack ads.

Democrats hold a slight registration edge in the district, but voters there supported President Donald Trump in 2016. King won his last election in 2018 by about 15,000 votes, his smallest margin of victory as an incumbent..