Republican Peter King is an irascible, combative congressman in sync with the South Shore communities that voted 10 previous times to send him to Washington.
As chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, he is an eager warrior in the struggle against terrorists and has used the position to ensure that in funding that battle, Congress never forgets the New York City region is the nation's No. 1 target.
King, 68, of Seaford, is the lone Republican in Long Island's delegation to the House of Representatives, where the GOP holds a decisive majority. He has shown a pragmatic willingness to buck the rabid partisanship that has often paralyzed Congress.
For instance, he worked with New York's Democrats to win billions of dollars to care for and compensate 9/11 first responders made sick by the toxic dust at Ground Zero. Unfortunately he has also used his homeland security platform to recklessly tar Muslims with a much-too-broad brush. As we said two years ago, alienating loyal Muslim Americans won't make the nation safer.
Vivianne Falcone, 55, his Democratic challenger, is a former teacher from West Islip, one of the areas added to the district in this year's redrawing of the electoral lines. She's making her first run for public office because she felt disrespected by King's staff during a protest outside his district office. She said he doesn't give constituents like her a voice in Washington. That could be a problem for King in his newly redrawn district. But Falcone is unprepared for the office she seeks and would face too steep a learning curve.
King's predictability and inflexibility undercut his influence. Yet, he has attained a key position of national leadership and is a strong advocate for New York interests. Newsday endorses King.