It’s “Mazi vs Suozzi” in Race for US Congress
By Mark Demetropoulos
The race is officially “on” for the Special Election to fill the vacancy in NY-3, the congressional district covering the Towns of Oyster Bay and North Hempstead; the City of Glen Cove; and portions of northeast Queens. And it’s Nassau Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip for the Republicans versus former Congressman Tom Suozzi for the Democrats.
Governor Kathy Hochul set February 13th as the date for the election. Because the race is a Special Election, there are no primary elections, with the nominees selected directly by the Executive Committees of their respective parties.
Suozzi, age 61, was elected to Congress in 2016, narrowly defeating Senator Jack Martins. He ran against George Santos in 2020, handily defeating the then first-time candidate, by 57% to 43%. Suozzi had previously served two terms as Nassau County Executive, and four terms as Mayor of Glen Cove. He left Congress in 2022 to run against Kathy Hochul for Governor, losing badly with only 16% of the vote in the Democratic primary.
Mazi Melesa Pilip, age 44, was elected to the Nassau Legislature in 2021, and was re-elected last month with over 60% of the vote. She has garnered international attention because of her unique life story: Born in Ethiopia, a Falasha Jew who, as a little girl, was airlifted out to Israel during the civil wars in Ethiopia. She grew-up in Israel, served as an elite paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces; then met and married her husband, a Ukrainian doctor. They moved to the US, and settled in Great Neck, where they are raising their seven children.
Both political parties pledge to spend “at least $5 million” on their respective candidates, with Suozzi recently pledging that the Democrats will be spending $20 million on his race. But with a campaign only eight weeks long, many political experts doubt that it is physically possible to spend $20 million in the short time period – or that it would make any difference.
The Third district is one of the wealthiest congressional districts in America, with high percentages of billionaires and millionaires - and one of the most educated with one of the highest percentages of university graduates. The district encompasses most of the historic “Gold Coast” including Locust Valley, Oyster Bay, Glen Cove, Great Neck, Port Washington and Roslyn. It also has one of the highest percentages of Asian voters (over 20%) and Jewish voters (over 20%) in the country.
The winner of the election will only have 10 months left to serve in the remainder of the term, and will have to start running immediately for re-election. Election petitions for the November election begin to circulate in late February – just two weeks after the Special Election is being held.