Five-term , D-Huntington, won re-election Tuesday for the seat, topping Republican challenger John Gomez by 16,509 votes in Suffolk County.
Taking the stage at a gathering of Democrats at the Marriott hotel in Islandia, Israel pledged to continue his fight the district on his return to Washington. "We're going to continue to do what we have always done: Fight for veterans, fight for families...stand up for people who need us to stand up for them. That's what gets us re-elected."
Asked his first priority, he replied, "Winning back the majority" on a night that the Democratic Party lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"The Republicans have shown they're good at politics," he said. "Now they have to show us they know how to govern."
Israel, 52, was endorsed by the Democratic, Working Families and Independence Parties.
A member of the Huntington Town Board from 1993 to 2001, Israel serves on the powerful Appropriations Committee and is chairman of recruiting for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Before the results were in, Jim Dobkowski, political director for Gomez, said, "The incumbent outspent us 10 to one. Win or lose, Gomez had an honorable showing. It'll be down to the wire. One of two things will happen. It's that the voters will believe Israel's claim that John's just a radio talk show host, or they'll see him for what he is, a Long Island businessman," he said. "His opponent stereotyped him as an extremist, but he's the furthest thing from that."
But Lisa Tyson, director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, had a different view.
"Steve stepped up and showed he really about about people by supporting health care and green energy. For the past two years, he has defined himself by issues," she said. "John Gomez did not speak to the people of this district. He spoke to (talk show host Sean) Hannity and others like him."
Constitution Party candidate Anthony Tolda finished with 1,133 votes.
The 2nd District includes Huntington and parts of Smithtown, Islip and Babylon and a portion of the town of Oyster Bay.
Before their candidates arrived, Suffolk County Democrats socialized and watched election results come in on large projection screens set up in a hotel ballroom. Steve Israel 76,082 John Gomez 59,573 Anthony Tolda 1,133