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Suozzi Wins Special Election for US Congress



By Mark Demetropoulos

         

Former Congressman Tom Suozzi recaptured his old seat for New York’s Third congressional district in the hotly-contested February 13th Special Election.


Suozzi defeated Republican Nassau County Legislator Mazi Pilip of Great Neck by the margin of 54% to 46%.  The short, eight-week campaign saw unprecedented spending, with Suozzi and the Democrats spending over $20 million; and Pilip and the Republicans spending over $10 million.


“This race was centered on immigration and the economy,” stated Suozzi in this victory speech. “We won because we addressed the issues and found a way to bind our divisions.”


The vacancy and Special election occurred due to the expulsion of criminal fraudster George Santos, who unexpectedly won the seat on the coattails of former congressman Lee Zeldin’s sweep of Long Island in the 2022 gubernatorial election.


Santos is now facing decades in federal prison for stealing money, identity theft, credit card fraud, and filing thousands of false entries in his campaign filings from 2022. The US House expelled Santos on December 1, 2023.


Suozzi had vacated the congressional seat in 2022, to run for Governor, but lost the Democratic primary to Kathy Hochul.

Pilip was a “well-meaning and noble experiment that didn’t work with the voters” according to one local political veteran.  Pilip is an Ethiopian Jew, who was rescued from Africa in the 1990’s to grow-up in Israel, and served in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).


Although Pilip has a strong following in Great Neck – particularly among the 35,000-strong Persian Jewish community- that support did not translate out to the larger Italian, Irish, German and secular Jewish communities in North Hempstead, Oyster Bay and NE Queens, who make-up the vast majority of the 750,000 people in NY3.


Outside of Great Neck, Suozzi consistently polled 10 points – or more - above the normal Democratic vote, winning even the Town of Oyster Bay.  The Democrats averaged just 33% in Oyster Bay in November, 2023; but Suozzi polled 51% to win in Oyster Bay.


The campaign themes of the Suozzi and Mazi campaigns are now being evaluated for national political implications.

Suozzi ran as a “centrist Democrat” who would “work across the aisle with Republicans” to address national problems like the border and the mass influx of illegal migrants.


He denounced “the Squad” and radical leftist Democrats; and pledged to help craft a cross-party deal on the border, and aid to the Ukraine and Israel.

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