Former Democratic Representative Tom Suozzi Wins Special Election to Replace Ousted Republican George Santos in New York

In Tuesday’s special election, former Democratic Representative Tom Suozzi secured victory, replacing ousted Republican Representative George Santos of New York, as reported by The Associated Press. Suozzi triumphed over Republican nominee Mazi Melesa Pilip with a margin of 58.7% to 41.3% for New York’s Third Congressional District, encompassing part of Long Island, according to the AP’s projection at the time of reporting.

Suozzi, who previously held Santos’ seat for three terms, resumed his bid for the position approximately two months before Santos was expelled from office. The former congressman had initially vacated the seat to pursue an unsuccessful run in the Democratic primary for governor in 2022. Santos faced removal from office on December 1 following two indictments related to fraud allegations and a damning House Ethics Committee report.

Mazi Melesa Pilip, the Republican nominee and former Nassau County legislator, was chosen to run for the seat in mid-December. Pilip, an immigrant to the U.S. who served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), campaigned against Suozzi. In terms of campaign finances, Democratic groups outspent the GOP, and Suozzi disbursed $1.6 million more than Pilip leading up to the special election, according to Federal Election Commission data. Suozzi’s total campaign funds amounted to $4.5 million, while Pilip raised $1.3 million.

The primary issue for voters in this swing district, which leaned towards President Joe Biden by eight points in 2020, was immigration. Republicans focused their ads on criticizing Suozzi on this matter, while Democrats sought to depict Pilip as associated with the “MAGA” movement.

The Siena College survey released on Feb. 8 indicated Suozzi leading Pilip by 48% to 44% among likely voters. However, the same poll showed former President Donald Trump five points ahead of Biden in the district. Earlier polls from Emerson College suggested Suozzi’s lead among registered voters and a more significant advantage among those “very likely” to participate in the special election. The Cook Political Report classified the vacant seat as a “Toss Up” for the 2024 elections.

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