Democrat Jackie Gordon, an Army veteran and former Babylon Town Council member, will seek a rematch next year against Republican incumbent Andrew Garbarino in the 2nd Congressional District.
Gordon, who lost to Garbarino, a lawyer and former state Assembly member, by more than 23,000 votes in 2020 in a race to replace retiring Rep. Peter King, launched her campaign Tuesday in Lindenhurst, painting her opponent as beholden to special interests while arguing that she will stand up for middle-class families.
"I'm running because we deserve a leader who will stand up for us," Gordon said. "I'm running in defense of our families. Of our neighbors. Of our community. In defense of our interests and our ideals. I'm running to finish what I set out to do two years ago. To go to Washington to solve our problems and to bring solutions back to my home, Long Island."
Garbarino campaign spokesman Anthony Pileggi predicted a bigger margin of victory for the incumbent in 2022.
"In 2020, voters rejected Jackie Gordon’s lies and her embrace of the Pelosi/Biden agenda," Pileggi said in a statement. "We have no doubt that in 2022 after 2 years of open borders, rampant spending, record inflation, COVID failures and failed foreign policy, that voters will once again reject Gordon or any Pelosi/Biden Democrat by an even wider margin."
The 2nd District stretches along the South Shore of Nassau and Suffolk counties. King's departure prompted national interest in the race and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to both sides.
Gordon, 56, of Copiague, was born in Jamaica, raised in Queens, and has lived on Long Island for the past 28 years. She is a former public school teacher, guidance counselor and U.S. Army combat veteran who served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. She retired from the Army Reserves with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 2014. Gordon most recently served on the Babylon Town Council from 2007-2020.
Suffolk County Democratic chairman Rich Schaffer said Gordon will be a "rabid advocate" for the middle class.
"We need people in Congress who are going to come from all walks of life experience and be able to implement that as a congresswoman," said Schaffer, who also serves as Babylon Town supervisor. "We have too many people who go to Washington to protect big interests and not protecting your average person's interest."
In a campaign announcement video launched Tuesday, Gordon highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental disasters, job losses and layoffs as areas of focus if she is elected.
"We need leadership that will do whatever it takes to solve our problems," Gordon said in the video.
The 2nd District has 179,835 registered Democrats, 167,651 Republicans and 165,989 voters registered to smaller political parties or unaffiliated with any party, according to State Board of Election records from Februrary, the most recent data available. The district could also be redrawn through the decennial redistricting process.
Political experts project the 2022 midterm elections — with lagging White House polling numbers and mounting incumbent retirements — could be difficult ground for Democrats to maintain their fragile hold on the House.
"We are anticipating redistricting so I don't know what the district is going to look like at the end of day," Gordon said. "We anticipate it will change. So at this point I am just going to work to get the vote of the voters in this district."