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GOP NYPD Detective Takes Congressional Seat from Democrats for First Time in Decades

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If the Republicans win back the majority in the House of Representatives — as they’re almost certain to do at this point — they have a former law enforcement agent from New York to thank for one of the bigger flips of the 2022 midterms.

On Monday, election data provider Decision Desk HQ officially called the race in New York’s 4th Congressional District for the GOP’s Anthony D’Esposito. While The Associated Press had called the race last week, the call from one of the biggest election data sources in the media put the final nail into the Democratic coffin in a seat they’ve controlled since the 1990s.

As of Tuesday morning, with 96 percent of the vote in, D’Esposito leads Democratic nominee Laura Gillen by a 51.9 to 48.1 percent margin.

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After three races were called on Monday night, the Republicans sit at 217 House seats — one short of the majority needed. While nothing is ever certain, that means the Democrats must win every race not currently called, 14 in all.

Despite Republicans underperforming nationally, D’Esposito was one of the bright spots in last week’s midterms. According to Ballotpedia, the Cook Partisan Voter Index lists New York’s 4th Congressional District at D+5. While the district on the western side of Long Island was redrawn somewhat after the 2020 election, it’s estimated President Joe Biden would have taken 56.8 percent of the vote in the new district.

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The seat was previously held by Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice, who said she would not run for re-election earlier this year. Carolyn McCarthy, best known as a gun control activist, had held the seat prior to that, as well.

D’Esposito, a former New York Police Department detective, is on the town board of Hempstead. On his campaign website, D’Esposito said he was “running for Congress because Nassau County needs a strong voice in Washington that’s focused on the things that matter most — tax relief, public safety and easing the burden on the middle class.”

“As a Hempstead Town Councilman, Anthony believes in protecting taxpayers by ‘doing more with less’ and has used this approach to provide effective, conservative leadership in America’s largest town,” D’Esposito said. “He has cut or frozen taxes in each of the last four budgets passed by the Hempstead Town Board — resulting in multiple credit rating upgrades from respected Wall Street credit rating agencies Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings.

“Anthony led the Town’s pandemic response, providing assistance to local businesses, healthcare providers and struggling families. As Councilman, Anthony helped address food insecurity, enable businesses to keep their doors open and support local schools, hospitals and first responders.  This built upon Anthony’s work to help Nassau County in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy.”

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D’Esposito’s win gives the GOP 11 seats in the New York delegation to the next Congress. Despite the fact New York lost a seat due to reapportionment, that’s still a significant improvement over the current makeup. With 27 representatives from New York at present, the Democrats make up 19 members of the delegation, with Republicans only sending eight representatives to Washington.

This represents a pretty significant underperformance by the Democrats; according to CNN, the new electoral map in the state “most likely gives Democrats an advantage in 19 districts.” With only 15 wins, if the Republicans have a narrow majority in the House, as they’re projected to, the GOP can thank the Empire State — and, in particular, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who led a spirited challenge against Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and helped shepherd the Republicans to major gains in New York state.

In an interview with Fox News Radio, D’Esposito credited independent and crossover voters who trusted him to deliver the goods for his Long Island district.

“I’ve spoken to people over the last week who have said, ‘Listen, I’m a Democrat and I voted for you. Please give me a reason to vote for you again in 2024,” D’Esposito said. ‘And my goal is to work as hard as I possibly can.”

“We have a real opportunity, especially with four members of the Republican Party [from Long Island] and what will be the majority — I think if we work together, we can deliver some great things for Long Island,” he added.

D’Esposito certainly has a chance to do that. As for Lee Zeldin, while he won’t be going to the governor’s mansion in Albany, he could still be taking on a bigger role.

As Fox News notes, thanks to the fact New York’s conservatives over-performed in an election where that was rare from a national perspective, many are touting him as the next head of the Republican National Committee. Considering that he might have saved the party and the country from two years more of the Biden administration going unchecked by Congress, the RNC could certainly make worse choices.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture