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Sat Oct 10, 2020, 04:25 AM

NY-02: Is Jackie Gordon the new Long Island?

Babylon, on the South Shore of Long Island, is dotted with patriotic – sometimes nationalist – symbols, such as the weather-worn signs on an auto body shop outside of the Amityville station on the Long Island Rail Road, that say, “God Bless America,” “Support Our Troops,” and “Get the U.S. out of the U.N.” That may make it look like Trump Country, but Babylon accounts for a significant portion of New York’s 2nd Congressional District, home to one of the most hotly contested House of Representatives races this year.

Jackie Gordon, the Democratic nominee to replace longtime Republican Rep. Pete King, served on the Babylon Town Council for 12 years before stepping down to run for Congress. She will partly rely on Babylon, where she’s well known and has won numerous elections, to swing the election in her favor. If she succeeds, it would be historic: Gordon would become the first Black woman elected to Congress from a New York district outside of New York City.

Her main selling points in the swing district are that she’s a veteran of both Iraq wars and mainstream Democratic politics. But to flip King’s seat in November, Gordon will have to court swing voters without alienating those who voted for Trump. The president carried this district by 9 percentage points.

That would pose a challenge for any Democrat. But for a Black woman facing a suburban constituency that could be susceptible to Trump’s racist fearmongering, it will be a balancing act.

The child of Jamaican immigrants, Gordon, 55,lives in a white-shingled house in Copiague, an unincorporated hamlet within Babylon, a few minutes away from a residents-only beach at Tanner Park.On a windy morning in September, Gordon met me there, across from the Great South Bay, to discuss her candidacy.


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