Robert Zimmerman emerged victorious in the Democratic primary on Tuesday for New York‘s Long Island-anchored 3rd Congressional District.
A number of Democrats vied for the seat in a race that exemplified the typical Democratic electoral divide between centrists and progressives. Meanwhile, some internal polling from July has given Republicans a glimmer of hope that they could reclaim the district for the first time in nearly a decade.
Zimmerman is a lawyer who would be the first openly gay member of Congress from the Queens and Long Island area. He was backed by Hillary Clinton and neighboring Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY).
Outgoing Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), an outspoken centrist, vacated the seat to mount his unsuccessful primary challenge against New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Suozzi backed 28-year-old Nassau County legislator Josh Lafazan in the race to succeed him.
Other Democratic contenders in the race included North Hempstead supervisor Jon Kaiman, entrepreneur Reema Rasool, and Melanie D’Arrigo.
On the Republican side, George Santos ran unopposed. Santos, who would also be the first gay member of Congress from the area should he win in November, previously ran unsuccessfully against Suozzi in 2020.
Internal polling Santos shared with the Washington Examiner in mid-July showed Zimmerman and his fellow Democratic contenders underwater in their favorability ratings among prospective voters in the district.
Democrats have consistently held the district by comfortable margins since the retirement of former Rep. Peter King (R-NY) in 2013. However, redistricting has softened Democrats’ partisan advantage inside the district in the time since, paring its boundaries back west of Long Island in a slight boost for the GOP.
While Democrats still enjoy a partisan apportionment edge in the district, Republicans are hoping that a perfect storm of Suozzi’s exit and modest redistricting gains along with an expected red wave could propel them to victory.