Gary Port, Democratic candidate for New York State Assembly 19th...

Gary Port, Democratic candidate for New York State Assembly 19th District. (July 6, 2012) Credit: James Escher

Central Nassau, western Oyster BayRepublican Edward P. Ra, 30, of Franklin Square, is seeking re-election in a newly gerrymandered district. He is new to 80 percent of the voters.

Ra needs to present a strong case to these new constituents, but his first-term record is uninspiring. He voted against an amendment to allow casino gambling in the state because there were no details on their location. But, Ra, who sits on the influential Committee on Racing and Wagering, has few ideas on how these sites should be determined or any specifics on how to implement such a major change in policy. Ra supported an expansion of special education that school districts opposed and which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed because of the higher costs it would have imposed on taxpayers.

Challenger Gary Port, 50, of West Hempstead, is a divorce attorney who lost a bid for Hempstead supervisor last year. While we didn't think Port had the management chops to run a large town, he seems better suited as a legislator. He has the take-charge manner of the lieutenant colonel he was in the Army Reserve, and wants to apply his negotiating skills to overhaul unfunded state mandates.

Newsday supports Port.