NY-01 representatives from top left: Stuyvesant Wainwright, R, 1953-1960; Otis Pike, D, 1961-1978; Bill Carney, R, 1979-1986; George Hochbrueckner, D, 1987-1994; Mike Forbes, R, 1995-2000 (switched to D 1999); Felix Grucci, R, 2001-2002; Tim Bishop, D, 2003-2014; Lee Zeldin, R, 2015- present.

Local voters heading to the polls Tuesday will have a full ballot to consider. They’ll be picking the next governor of the state, the state attorney general, comptroller and every member of the State Legislature. In Suffolk, voters will elect a county clerk, a comptroller and seven members of the State Supreme Court, the state trial-level court in New York. They will also pick a surrogate’s court judge, a family court judge and three county court judges.

But all eyes are on tomorrow’s hotly contested congressional midterm elections, where voters will decide which political party will control both chambers of the legislative branch of government.  New York voters will elect one of the state’s two members of the U.S. Senate and every member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

New York’s First Congressional District race pits two-term Republican incumbent Lee Zeldin of Shirley against challenger Perry Gershon, Democrat of East Hampton. Kate Browning, who sought the Democratic nomination the five-way primary election in June and lost to Gershon appears on the ballot on the Women’s Equality Party line, in spite of the fact that she has withdrawn from the race and is supporting Gershon in the election.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) faced off against Democratic challenger Perry Gershon of East Hampton Oct. 24 at an event hosted by the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce. Photos: Maria Piedrabuena

The district, currently classified by political pundits as “likely Republican” — a N.Y. Times/Siena College poll in early October had Zeldin up by five points — has flipped between the Republican and Democratic parties eight times since World War II.

Zeldin unseated a six-term Democrat in the last mid-term Congressional election in 2014, defeating incumbent Tim Bishop of Southampton by 53 to 45 percent of the votes cast. Only 39 percent of the district’s active voters turned out to vote in that mid-term election. (Editor’s note: “Active voters” is a term defined by state law as voters listed in the poll books. “Inactive voters” are still eligible to vote in elections but are not included in the poll books by county elections officials after mail addressed to the voter is returned as undeliverable or the voter has moved with an out-of-county forwarding address.)

Zeldin handily won re-election in 2016, a presidential election year when 69 percent of the district’s active voters turned out. He defeated Democrat Anna Throne-Holst of Bridgehampton 58 to 42 percent.

NY-01 went solidly for President Donald Trump in 2016. Trump won 54.5 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 42.2 percent. Voters in the district were split virtually evenly in the 2012 presidential election, when President Barack Obama eked out Mitt Romney in NY-01 by half of a percentage point. Obama won the district 51 to 48 percent in 2008.

Despite the back and forth in the First Congressional District, the district has long been home to more registered Republicans than Democrats, though voters not enrolled in any political party — blanks — are the third most populous voting group.

In 2018, Republicans make up 33.6 percent of active voters in NY-01, Democrats 30.9 percent and blanks 27.4 percent, according to the N.Y. State Board of Elections database.

The number of active voters in the district has increased by 5,648 voters since 2016.

Enrolled Democrats in NY-01 increased by 4.1 percent from 2016 to 2018. The number of enrolled Republicans in the district grew by 1.7 percent.

“Blank” voter enrollment has decreased by 1 percent since 2016. Enrollment numbers for the Independence, Conservative and Working Families parties also fell since 2016.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.