Incumbent Peter King and his challenger Liuba Gretchen Shirely faceoff...

Incumbent Peter King and his challenger Liuba Gretchen Shirely faceoff in a town hall at the Bay Shore Brightwaters Public Library on Sept. 8. Credit: Johnny Milano

A national political publication on Wednesday moved the congressional seat contested by Rep. Peter King and Democrat Liuba Grechen Shirley from "solid Republican" to "likely Republican" as five seats nationally moved in Democrats' favor.

The nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based Cook Political Report said polls in "professional suburbs" make the GOP's outlook for November "noticeably more dire since Labor Day."

While it didn't cite polls for the 2nd Congressional District, which covers the South Shore of eastern Nassau and western Suffolk, Cook pointed to the $1 million raised by Grechen Shirley, 37, of Amityville, and the fact she was advertising on cable television before King.

"Our campaign is building the strongest grass roots movement on the South Shore of Long Island in a generation, and the nation is taking notice," Grechen Shirley said in a statement. "This is yet another sign that change is coming to NY-2 in November."

King (R-Seaford) in an interview said the reasoning for moving the seat was thin.

"In my district, every indicator I've seen, it's as positive as it's ever been, really," he said.

King said the reason Grechen Shirley's ads aired before his was because he wanted to wait until after the state Democratic primaries and the anniversary of 9/11. His ad buy is about three times larger than Grechen Shirley's, he said.

Democrats eyeing Long Island's competitive congressional races were encouraged earlier this month when turnout in the state Democratic primaries surged compared with 2014 on Long Island.

Democrats said their supporters are motivated to send a message against President Donald Trump. Republicans dismissed the increase as the result of more than $25 million in advertising spending by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and internal party divisions.

Cook Political Report said the 2nd Congressional District voted for Obama by four points in 2012 and for Trump by nine points in 2016.

In the 1st Congressional District, where Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is facing Democrat Perry Gershon, an East Hampton businessman, Cook kept the seat as "Likely Republican."

Cook Political Report defines its "Likely" designation as seats "not considered competitive at this point, but have the potential to become engaged."

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