In Long Island’s East End, a race is underway to replace Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin in Congress.

Democrat Bridget Fleming, a Suffolk County legislator, is facing off against Republican Nick LaLota, a Navy veteran who served as chief of staff to the Suffolk County legislature.

New York’s 1st congressional district extends across a sizable portion of Suffolk County, stretching along the North Shore and east to the Hamptons.

The newly drawn district voted for Biden by less than half a percentage point two years ago, according to data from The New York Times. Prominent election prognosticators like Cook Political Report rank it as “lean Republican.”

Fleming, in light of this summer’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, is leaning on abortion rights to criticize her opponent.

“Fundamental freedoms are under attack in our country, particularly the freedom of women to make their own decisions about what happens to their own healthcare, what happens to their futures,” she said in an interview.

LaLota says abortion should be governed by the states, telling Spectrum News he would not back a Republican proposal in Congress to ban all abortions nationally after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“I’ll clearly state my policy preference: I do not oppose abortion when it comes to rape, incest, or life of the mother. I do not oppose abortion in the first trimester. Conversely, I do oppose abortion the second and third trimester,” he said.

Bucking some in his party, LaLota says the 2020 election was not stolen. On the campaign trail, he rails against inflation, crime, and illegal immigration.

“Whether it’s a wall or a fence or some other physical barrier — the federal government needs to be serious about actually securing our border, hiring more border agents,” he said.

Fleming, meanwhile, argues managing climate change and investing in renewable energy are crucial for this congressional district, given that it is surrounded by water.

If elected, she says a top priority would be to ensure grants to support environmental programs are not taxed.

“That is a fix that can happen without being too controversial,” she said. “Might give me the opportunity to really create some relationships and figure out how to get things done on Capitol Hill.”

How are their messages being received by voters across the district?

Lenore Santora, a Republican from Centereach, NY, offered extensive praise of LaLota.

“I like his philosophy on country first. We need to secure our borders,” she said.

Ocean Karim, a Stony Brook University student and Democrat, cheered Fleming’s focus on climate.

“Those two candidates are complete, different opposites. There’s literally little to no gray area between the two,” he said.

Now, after months of campaigning, it is up to voters to weigh those options.