- New Yorkers will vote Tuesday on who will replace former Congressman George Santos.
- Former Rep. Tom Suozzi faces newcomer Republican Mazi Pilip.
- The race could give some early indications of what awaits us in November.
Republicans’ slim majority in the House of Representatives could become even smaller on Tuesday, jeopardizing their chances of impeaching the first Cabinet secretary in nearly 150 years and dealing another setback to the Republican Party.
The special election to replace ousted Rep. George Santos has become a costly brawl for both parties. Polls show that former Congressman Tom Suozzi, who left Congress in a failed gubernatorial run, narrowly leads Republican Mazi Pilip, whose campaign for the wealthy Long Island district is known for its rare public appearances. Republicans chose Pilip, a registered Democrat, largely for her lack of ties to the establishment. She currently works in a local office part-time and is a Jew of Ethiopian descent and a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces.
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The Republicans could benefit from a victory.
Last week, leaders of both parties appeared to lose control of their base in embarrassing fashion. House Speaker Mike Johnson even complained that he was foiled in a potentially historic impeachment vote for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, unable to justify bringing in a House Democrat. Room within the room.
A victory in this district would also highlight that the Republican Party can maintain a competitive advantage in the nation’s suburbs, given the right circumstances. Republicans at the Nassau County level now control virtually every office, a striking reversal from Suozzi’s time in Congress. The suburban New York district is the same territory that humiliated Democrats locally and nationally in 2022.
A vote could make a major difference in the House.
Basically, Johnson could use another seat. The speaker, who catapulted himself to leadership after the historic ouster of Kevin McCarthy, recently complained about how the Republican Party effectively had a one-seat majority. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who missed Mayorkas’ vote due to health concerns, is expected to return to Washington this week. Santos himself mocked fellow Republicans, 105 of whom voted to expel him after a damning ethics report, when it became clear that Mayorkas’ vote might fail.
Democrats took over the airwaves.
Democrats spent more than $10 million to flip the seat, according to Semafor. Their party could also benefit from some good news after special adviser Robert Hur raised new questions about President Joe Biden’s position. Before the report was released, Suozzi said it would not be helpful for the president to campaign for him. For her part, Pilip refused to say how she voted in the last two presidential elections.
Republicans spent more than $6 million touting his compelling story and hammering Suozzi on immigration. His current campaign is relatively sparse. As the New York Times pointed out, she doesn’t have a single person on her payroll.
Immigration dominated the race.
Pilip attempted to link Suozzi to Biden’s immigration policies. She also used images of migrants in New York, including images of migrants beating police officers in Times Square, to drive home the issue.
Suozzi tried to tie Pilip to Santos. The former congressman also tried to capitalize on former President Donald Trump’s role in the failure of a bipartisan border deal with Ukraine that made some progressives uncomfortable.
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