Republican Peter King, 70, of Seaford, has had a tight grip on his congressional seat since the district first sent him to Washington in 1992. He's done it his way.
He has often bucked his own party when toeing the line would have been bad for Long Island. He may best be remembered for the fight he led in the House of Representatives that delivered $60.4 billion in federal aid for the region after superstorm Sandy. King didn't hesitate to publicly castigate Republicans who opposed and delayed that essential help.
That independent streak is the reason Newsday has sometimes endorsed King despite frequently disagreeing with him on issues, and even though he declined to meet with the editorial board. We have criticized him for railing against amnesty as a part of broad immigration reform, a position he has moderated since his district was redrawn based on the 2010 census to include more minorities and Democrats. King now says he would back a bill offering legalization if the borders are secured.
Through stints as chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and aided by his affinity for television cameras, King has become a national voice in the war on terror. And he has consistently helped to deliver federal assistance to secure the New York City region against attack and to compensate sick Ground Zero first responders.
Democrat Patricia Maher, 55, a longtime resident of East Meadow currently living in Garden City, is an admitted underdog. The real estate agent and executive sales account director is running with little money or party support. Give her credit for that; voters always deserve a race. She is passionate on issues such as fair pay for women and preserving Social Security and Medicare. But her learning curve on the full range of national challenges would be steep.
Newsday endorses King.