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EDITORIAL: Newsday's endorsement in the 3rd Congressional District

Republican Peter King is a certainty for re-election in this district enamored enough with his confident, pugnacious approach to the job that it has elected him nine times.

It helps that he has $1.7 million in the bank and a national profile as a hard-nosed warrior in the battle against terrorists. King, 66, of Seaford, is the lone Republican in Long Island's congressional delegation.

Even his opponent, Democratic Howard Kudler, 56, of Merrick, allows that he is a long-shot. Kudler, who teaches high school history, is enthusiastic about a single-payer health care system and additional government spending to stimulate the economy. He would face a steep learning curve in Washington.

Unfortunately King, like almost every other Republican in Congress, chose to say "no" to everything, from an essential program that saved the financial system from collapse, and the investment act, which poured needed stimulus money into New York.

The national GOP, however, has moved so far to the right that King, even standing still, looks increasingly moderate. If his party gains the majority in the House on Nov. 2, he would likely become the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee once again. That's important for the New York City region. It's the No. 1 terrorist target. A powerful advocate in the battle for resources would be valuable.

We wish King was less given to bellicose broadsides about Muslims. Alienating loyal Muslim Americans won't make us safer. King also would serve his constituents well with a more pragmatic, comprehensive approach on immigration. If he does find himself in the House majority, he will be unbound from the lockstep "no," and have a chance to show his leadership. With that hope, Newsday endorses King.


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