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SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY – While there are still votes being counted, incumbent GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin has been declared the victor in a race to retain his 1st Congressional District seat.
"While it was evident to most people a few weeks ago, after counting many absentee ballots, on Monday it became mathematically certain that Lee Zeldin won re-election to Congress," Nick LaLota, Republican commissioner of the Suffolk County Board of Elections, told Patch. "The board expects to certify the race in about a week. At present, there are less than 30,000 ballots to count and Congressman Zeldin leads by more than 48,000 votes."
On Election Night, after taking the lead against Democratic challenger and scientist Nancy Goroff, Zeldin (R, NY-1) spoke out on what seemed clear to be a win.
“I am deeply honored and humbled that the families of Long Island have entrusted me to continue representing our great congressional district," Zeldin said. “Since the day I was first elected, I have been willing to work with anyone to find common ground however possible. As America enters its next chapter, I am confident we will defeat the coronavirus and continue growing our economy... To achieve these goals, that means working across the political aisle."
He thanked his family and added: “Working together does not mean compromising our values. To the men and women of law enforcement, I say thank you for all you do to keep our communities safe. I unapologetically support these amazing men and women, especially when they are under attack."
Zeldin also thanked Goroff, her volunteers and her supporters "for running a hard fought campaign. Finally, to the voters of Long Island I say 'thank you'. I am proud to have always called Long Island my home and it’s an honor to represent the greatest congressional district in America.”
Representatives for Goroff did not return requests for comment Tuesday.
While it was evident to most people a few weeks ago, after counting many absentee ballots, today it became mathematically certain @leezeldin won re-election to Congress. Suffolk BOE expects to certify the race very soon-- showing Congressman Zeldin won by 40k+ votes.
— Nick LaLota (@CommishLaLota) November 30, 2020
On Election Night, when with only three districts of 473 not reported, Zeldin had 176,317 votes to Goroff's 111,188, giving him 61 percent of the vote compared to Goroff's 39 percent.
Thousands of absentee ballots were then counted before LaLota's announcement Monday.
On Election Day, Goroff posted a message on her Facebook page: "Thank you for letting your voice be heard in this critically important election. I want you to know that I am so proud of what we have accomplished and I hope you are, too," Goroff said. "To all of the poll workers, election officials and especially all the volunteers who made today possible, I want to say 'thank you. You've done an incredible job.
Zeldin, 40, was born and raised in Shirley. He ran for his fourth term, with campaign platforms focused on his military service, support for law enforcement and veterans, a tough stance on immigration, fighting gang violence, including MS-13, growing jobs and the economy, and getting to the other side of the pandemic.
Goroff, 52, of Stony Brook, a scientist, spoke out for the need to look at the facts and focus on the need to address climate change, the fight for affordable health care for all, and gun safety.
The 1st Congressional District includes most of central and eastern Suffolk County, including the East End, Brookhaven Town and most of Smithtown. View the district map here.
Zeldin's tenure has been marked by speculation about his reported loyalty to President Donald Trump. Donald Trump Jr. was a guest at a Zeldin fundraiser and Zeldin has greeted the president as he landed on the East End for fundraising events. Zeldin also was included in an immigration forum Trump held on Long Island that focused on eradicating gang violence.
Zeldin, however, has said he is proud of his ability to reach consensus on both sides of the political aisle on issues including helicopter noise, Plum Island and getting personal protective equipment to Long Island during the pandemic.