Republican Congressional candidates George DeVolder-Santos and Anthony D’Esposito declared victory in their respective races on Tuesday night, but only one of their challengers conceded the election as votes continued to be tallied as of Wednesday morning.
Santos received 142,017, or 54.2% votes in the race for the 3rd Congressional District. while his opponent, Robert Zimmerman, received 120,060 or 45.8% votes as of Wednesday morning, according to the state’s Board of Elections. Nassau County Republican Chairman declared Santos the victor at their watch party in Baldwin Tuesday evening before Santos called the race just after midnight.
“This journey started not too long ago in 2019 and I just want to thank each and every one of you that were there every step of the way,” Santos said from his watch party at Il Bacco on Northern Boulevard in Queens. “Only in this country can the kid who came from the basement in Jackson Heights do this. I want you to know that the American Dream is worth fighting for.”
Zimmerman ultimately conceded the race and said he called Santos to congratulate him on winning and to wish him well representing the state’s 3rd Congressional District in the footsteps of U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who launched an unsuccessful campaign for governor earlier this year.
“It is so important that while our commitment and our passion never wavers, our dedication to respecting our democracy comes first,” Zimmerman said. “We know that we lead by example and that’s what makes us different and better than others in politics.”
Santos, who ran against Suozzi in 2020, has a background in Wall Street as a financier and investor, working extensively in capital introduction, real estate, biotech and capital markets. A supporter of former President Donald Trump, Santos urged officials to intervene in the counting of Electoral College votes after the Jan. 6 insurrection.
He is also quoted as saying he was “at the Ellipse on Jan. 6,” the day of rioting at the U.S. Capitol, and is quoted on video saying he “wrote a nice check for a law firm” to aid the rioters who stormed the building.
Both Zimmerman and Santos are openly gay.
Zimmerman, a Great Neck resident who ran on the Democratic and Working Family Parties lines, received 22,594 votes from Queens voters compared to Santos, a Queens resident who received 21,746 votes. Santos, who ran on the Republican and Conservative lines, received 120,271 votes from Nassau voters while Zimmerman received 97,466 votes as of Wednesday morning.
The state’s 3rd Congressional District includes the entire Town of North Hempstead including parts of Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Garden City, Mineola and Westbury villages. It also stretches to more southern parts of Nassau County such as Hicksville and Massapequa.
D’Esposito, a former NYPD detective and Island Park resident, declared victory in the 4th Congressional District race against Democrat Laura Gillen Tuesday, receiving 137,899, or 51.9% of votes, compared to Gillen’s 127,748, or 48.08%.
D’Esposito ran on the Republican and Conservative lines while Gillen ran on the Democratic line. He thanked everyone who cast their votes for him to help flip a congressional seat that has been under Democratic control since 1997.
“When we started this race, they said it was impossible,” D’Esposito said at the Baldwin watch party. “They don’t know Nassau County and they certainly don’t know Chairman Joe Cairo. I want to thank each and every one of you in this room. You worked hard, you’ve knocked on doors, you’ve made phone calls, you’ve dug into your pockets to get us across the finish line.”
Gillen, at her watch party in Freeport on Tuesday night, said her team will “wait until every vote is counted,” saying that the race remains “extremely close.”
D’Esposito said he believes in ensuring that individuals with illegal firearms are arrested and establishing task forces on the federal level are the best ways to combat gun violence. He warned that while adding word of cashless bail not retaining offenders quickly passes through the streets to others who feel they can get away with certain criminal activities.
Gillen said that public safety is a paramount concern for her and other mothers throughout the district and state. She said that universal background checks and supporting other legislations to get firearms off the streets are some of the best ways to protect children and other individuals.
The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), who announced earlier this year that she would not be running for re-election. She succeeded Democrat Carolun McCarthy, who served the district from 1997-2015.
The 4th Congressional District currently includes the communities of Baldwin, Bellmore, East Rockaway, East Meadow, the Five Towns, Lynbrook, Floral Park, Franklin Square, Garden City, Garden City Park, Hempstead, Atlantic Beach, Long Beach, Malverne, Freeport, Merrick, Mineola, Carle Place, New Hyde Park, Oceanside, Rockville Centre, Roosevelt, Uniondale, Wantagh, West Hempstead, Westbury and parts of Valley Stream.
Steve Kornacki, MSNBC’s national political correspondent, said the Republicans had a 220-215 advantage in Congress, as of Wednesday morning, though races including the 4th District, have yet to be called. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of the state’s 17th Congressional District had 137,633 or 49.4% of votes against Republican challenger Michael Lawler, who had 140,883 or 50.6% of votes with 95% of votes reported as of Wednesday morning. Maloney conceded before noon.