ALBANY — Mike LiPetri on Thursday suspended his primary campaign in the 2nd Congressional District, providing a clear path for Andrew Garbarino to become the Republican nominee for the seat long held by Rep. Peter King.
“After thousands of additional absentee ballots were counted over the past twenty-four hours, the time has come today to officially suspend our campaign for Congress,” LiPetri, a Republican state assemblyman from South Farmingdale, announced on his Facebook page Thursday.
Counting of thousands of mailed-in ballots will continue in Nassau County, but Suffolk County concluded its count for the race on Thursday. The 2nd Congressional District includes part of both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
In the Democratic primary race for the seat, Jackie Gordon widened her lead over Patricia Maher after counts of mail-in ballots were announced Thursday.
On primary night, Garbarino had 60% of the vote, but that only counted early voting and votes cast at polls on June 23. The counting of mail-in ballots has been critical in this and other races this year because most voters chose the option to avoid crowds at polls during the COVID-19 pandemic. By late Thursday. Gabarino added 5,485 paper ballots to his lead to LiPetri's 2,278, giving Gabarino about 61% of the total vote in Suffolk County, according to the county Board of Elections.
Mailed-in ballots accounted for nearly half of each candidate's total.
“I also want to congratulate our opponent, Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino, for having now officially secured the Republican Party nomination,” LiPetri said. “It is critical that we keep this district in Republican hands.”
There was no immediate comment from Garbarino.
On primary night, Babylon Town Board member Gordon was leading Maher, a lawyer and activist, 70-26%. On Thursday, Gordon was credited with another 12,799 mailed-in ballots to Maher's 4,402, although there will be no final official decision in the race until Nassau County's results are in.
King (R-Seaford) had endorsed Garbarino, who has served more than eight years in the Assembly’s Republican minority.
King, 75, announced in November that he would retire from the House seat he’s held for nearly three decades.