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The Bellwether: A podcast by Newsday Opinion

Two congressional races, two paths for the country come November, as Republicans Pete King and Lee Zeldin face challenges from Democrats Liuba Grechen Shirley and Perry Gershon on Long Island.

The Bellwether, a podcast by Newsday Opinion's Mark

The Bellwether, a podcast by Newsday Opinion's Mark Chiusano. Photo Credit: Illustration by Matt Davies

An election season podcast hosted by Mark Chiusano, produced by Newsday Opinion.

Episode 1: Will a blue wave hit Long Island?

Introducing Democratic congressional challengers Liuba Grechen Shirley and Perry Gershon, who are hoping to take down Republicans Pete King and Lee Zeldin en route to a blue wave in November. (Oct. 5, 2018)

Episode 2: Year of the woman on Long Island?

In this episode, The Bellwether looks at the gender dynamic in New York's 2nd Congressional District race. Democratic challenger Liuba Grechen Shirley hopes to capitalize on Rep. Pete King's stances on abortion and Brett Kavanaugh. In the wake of the #MeToo movement and the Women's March, record numbers of women are running for office. Will Grechen Shirley ride the wave? (Oct. 11, 2018)

Episode 3: Peter King walks into The Dubliner

Peter King is seeking his 14th term in Congress. Episode 3 of The Bellwether looks at some of the ups and downs of his long congressional career. From fighting for 9/11 first responders to winning funding for Superstorm Sandy victims on Long Island, King has developed a reputation as someone who would buck his party -- someone who will meet with the other side and hash things out at the DC watering hole, The Dubliner. But do controversial decisions like hearings on Muslim radicalization and rhetoric about the Black Lives Matter movement complicate that reputation? (Oct. 18, 2018)

Episode 4: Suffolk County -- still Trump country?

Episode 4 of The Bellwether looks at what’s happened since Donald Trump won Suffolk County so decisively in 2016. And now, with polls showing a shift away from President Donald Trump in recent months, will Trump-ally Lee Zeldin be able to weather the storm? This episode is a deep dive -- featuring the county Democratic and Republican bosses, an intriguing turnout theory from a Democratic superPAC, and a trip back in time to the halcyon days of duck-hunting, bow-tie wearing Long Island Rep. Otis Pike, who has something to teach us about how challengers win on Long Island. (Oct. 25, 2018)

Episode 5: Rich Schaffer and Andrew Cuomo, Big Fish on Long Island

Episode 5 of The Bellwether looks at the behind-the-scenes influence of powerbrokers on two key Long Island Congressional races. Suffolk County Democratic Party Chairman Rich Schaffer often focuses on local issues. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has in the past been absent in fighting for other Democrats in the state. This time around, what help are the challengers in New York’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts getting from two of the biggest fish in the local political sea? Tune in for a glimpse at some of the non-Congressional politics that may affect these Nov. 6 national races, including turnout from tight State Senate races on Long Island. (Nov. 1, 2018)

Episode 6: The final mile

Episode 6 of The Bellwether looks at the state of the race in the final days before Nov. 6. It is a fraught finish in New York’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts, with misleading mailers and angry insults back and forth. We talk to a nun who works with immigrants in Hampton Bays about how the immigration issue contributes to a tense atmosphere on Long Island, and we offer tidbits to voters ahead of Election Day. (Nov. 5, 2018)

Episode 7: Election night recap

Episode 7 of The Bellwether takes you to the Suffolk Democrats’ election night party, where attendees celebrated some State Senate seats turning blue even as congressional challengers came up short. We look back at the races in New York’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts, where the national party wave benefiting challengers didn’t quite crest in contests against Republican Reps. Lee Zeldin and Peter King. (Nov. 7, 2018)

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