Gillen concedes as D’Esposito wins House seat

Gillen concedes as D’Esposito wins House seat
Republican Anthony D'Esposito officially won the state's 4th Congressional District election following Democrat Laura Gillen conceding on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of the D'Esposito campaign)

Democratic congressional candidate Laura Gillen said she congratulated her Republican opponent Anthony D’Esposito for winning the 4th District election Wednesday.

D’Esposito, a former NYPD detective and Island Park resident, declared victory in the 4th Congressional District race against Democrat Laura Gillen last week, receiving 137,899, or 51.9% of votes, compared to Gillen’s 127,748, or 48.08%.

Gillen, an advocate for common-sense gun laws, banning assault weapons and women’s reproductive rights, said she and D’Esposito were in a “long, close and hard-fought race” in a statement following the election.

“I know this is not the outcome we hoped for, but it has been the honor of a lifetime to have been the Democratic nominee for this district,” Gillen said. “I’m incredibly thankful for all the stories people have shared, the steadfast support I’ve received, and for everyone who believed in the values that animated this campaign.”

Gillen, at her watch party in Freeport on Tuesday night, said her team would “wait until every vote is counted,” saying that the race remained “extremely close.” She ultimately conceded less than 24 hours later.

Gillen served as Hempstead supervisor for the largest township in the United States from 2018 to 2019. She was the first Democrat elected to the position in a century in an upset over incumbent Anthony Santino. Before being elected as supervisor, Gillen was involved in public service as a volunteer at South Nassau Communities Hospital and Camp Anchor.

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.”

D’Esposito will succeed current U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), who endorsed Gillen and announced she would not be running for re-election earlier this year.

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 were still projected to hold a 220-215 advantage in Congress, as of Tuesday, though some races have yet to be called.

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