A riveting race in Long Island has resulted in a victory for Republicans.
Grechen Shirley is the first Democrat to truly contest King, a 26-year incumbent and Long Island institution, in over a decade. In the last midterm, he ran unopposed. She was born and raised in the district and has been represented by King since she was 12 years old.
While Grechen Shirley ultimately wasn’t able to unseat King, she riled up the district (even earning the vote of many lifelong Republicans) and thrust the race into the national spotlight. “We came this close to beating Peter King,” she said in her concession speech. “We proved that Long Island wants change.”
Earlier this year, Grechen Shirley wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post titled, “Want women to run for Congress? We need someone to watch our kids first” and successfully petitioned the Federal Election Commission to let her use campaign funds to cover babysitting costs.
Grechen Shirley is a global voice for parental leave and worked with the UN’s Women Empower Women group to launch the #IAmParent campaign. Advocating for women’s economic empowerment overall has been the cornerstone of Grechen Shirley’s career: She’s consulted on projects for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PL+US: Paid Leave for the US, Women Deliver, Vital Voices, Global Health Visions, and also started a local non-profit to engage Long Islanders in the political process.
From the beginning, the chances of unseating King were seen as unlikely. But as the race progressed, pundits increased Grechen Shirley’s odds and moved the district out of the solid Republican column. She was endorsed by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, and The New York Times editorial board, also raising more than $1.3 million from over 7,500 donors — more than any previous King challenger and more than his past five challengers combined.