Democrat Jackie Gordon, a Babylon Town Board member and a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, announced her candidacy Tuesday to challenge Republican Rep. Peter King in 2020.
Gordon, 54, of Copiague, also is seeking re-election to the town board in November.
Gordon said she is running for Congress to help families “squeezed by rising household costs … while their wages haven’t kept up.” She also backs the Affordable Care Act, which King opposes.
Gordon said when she was in the Army, the slogan was, “We do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day … In Congress, I will get more done for working families, just as I have as a soldier … I will fight harder and do more.”
Gordon, a single mother, is a 12-year town board member and a guidance counselor at Wilson Technological Center in Farmingdale. She said she has formed a congressional campaign committee and hopes to raise $200,000 to $300,000 by July.
King, 75, of Seaford, said he knows Gordon “very well” because she is a member of his military academy selection committee. He said she spoke to him Saturday about her plan to run.
“I’ve always had a good professional working relationship with the councilwoman and if she runs I’m sure it will be a tough, hard fought and very fair campaign,” said King, who is in his 27th year in the House.
Gordon announced her candidacy even as Democrat Liuba Grechen Shirley, who ran a well-financed, competitive race against King last year, was weighing another run in the South Shore 2nd District, which runs from Massapequa to Bayport.
King spent $3.18 million against Grechen Shirley last year, and as of March 31 had $864,873 in his campaign coffers. Earlier, Grechen Shirley beat Suffolk Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory in a primary.
Grechen Shirley, 37, of Amityville, has worked in the nonprofit sector in economic development and is founder of the Vote Mama political action committee, which aims to encourage more women to run for public office.
“Right now, I’m focusing on the great work were doing at Vote Mama,” she said.
But she said many backers have urged her to run again. “I’m seriously considering it and discussing it with my family,” she said.
Of Gordon’s candidacy, she said, “I think it's great more women are stepping up and running for office.”
Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman and Babylon Town supervisor, said he will back Gordon, even in a primary, because of his long-standing ties to her as a town board member and her popularity with town voters.
“She is a unique, special individual, who has the perspective of a single mother, and a veteran who served four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and knows what veterans need,” said Schaffer.
Suffolk Republican chairman Jesse Garcia said King will prevail.
“I’ll leave it to the Democrats to sort out who their next candidate will be,” Garcia said. But he said, “there’s no greater champion for Long Island, national security and American prosperity than Peter King.”