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Election 2018: Zeldin wins third term, defeats Perry Gershon in 1st District

TIMES REVIEW PHOTO A victorious Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) at the GOP’s Election Night party in Patchogue.

Voters in New York’s 1st Congressional District re-elected Representative Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) to a third term Tuesday as the congressman defeated Democratic challenger Perry Gershon. 

On a day that saw record turnout for a midterm election, Mr. Zeldin secured just under 53 percent of the vote, a much closer race than the 16-point win he posted in 2016. Mr. Gershon tallied 46 percent while Kate Browning, who did not actively campaign after losing June’s Democratic primary, earned just over 1 percent on the Women’s Equality line.

“This race offered a clear contrast of results or resistance,” Mr. Zeldin said in his acceptance speech just before 11:30 p.m. at the GOP Election Day party in Patchogue. “We were campaigning on results and that is what won at the end of the day.”

Shelter Island went Democratic by a large margin on Tuesday. Mr. Gershon received 746 Democratic votes and 29 Working Family votes. Mr. Zeldin won 426 Republican votes, 57 Conservative Party votes and 17 Independence Party votes.

In the race for State Senate, incumbent Ken Lavalle (R-Port Jefferson) received 519 Republican votes on the Island, but Greg Fisher, his Democratic challenger, got the nod from 619 Island voters. Overall in the district Mr. LaValle handily won re election.

Incumbent Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. won his district overwhelmingly, with Island voters giving Mr. Thiele 811 Democratic votes to Republican challenger Patrick O’Connor’s 311.

It was a victory for the GOP locally, but Mr. Zeldin will return to Washington now as a minority member of the House of Representatives. At 10:45 p.m., NBC projected the Democrats would take back the House with a minimum of 229 seats. The party needed 218 to flip it.

Mr. Gershon conceded the race just past 11 p.m. when he addressed his supporters at the Democratic headquarters in Hauppauge.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO Perry Gershon received 46 percent of the vote in the 1st Congressional District race.

“We’re so much better off than we were two years ago,” Mr. Gershon said.

Republican Suffolk County Chairman John Jay LaValle had a different take after the votes were tallied.

“They were talking about a blue wave that didn’t happen,” Mr. LaValle said.