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Suozzi Wins NY Special Election, Immigration Top Voter Concern

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Clear Facts

  • Former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi won the special election to replace ousted Republican Rep. George Santos in New York’s Third Congressional District.
  • Suozzi defeated Republican nominee Mazi Melesa Pilip 58.7% to 41.3%.
  • Immigration was the top issue among voters in the swing district, which went for President Joe Biden by eight points in 2020.

Former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi won the special election to replace ousted Republican Rep. George Santos of New York on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. Suozzi beat Republican nominee Mazi Melesa Pilip 58.7% to 41.3% for New York’s Third Congressional District, which represents part of Long Island, the AP projected at the time of writing. The former congressman previously held Santos’ seat for three terms until he unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic primary for governor in 2022.

The former congressman launched a bid for the seat in early October, roughly two months before Santos was expelled from office. Santos was ousted on Dec. 1 after he had racked up two indictments over allegations of fraud and a damning House Ethics Committee report was released.

Pilip had been serving as Nassau County legislator before she was selected to run for the seat in mid-December. The Republican immigrated to the U.S. after her time in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), according to the campaign’s website.

Democratic groups outspent the GOP in advertising for the race, and Suozzi also disbursed $1.6 million more than Pilip leading up to the special election, according to Federal Election Commission data. The former congressman brought in a total of $4.5 million during his time as a candidate, while Pilip raised $1.3 million.

The top issue among voters in the swing district, which went for President Joe Biden by eight points in 2020, was immigration. Republicans largely focused their ads on attacking Suozzi over the issue, while Democrats attempted to paint Pilip as a member of the “MAGA” movement.

Immigration continues to be front of mind to voters across the country, as the Biden administration has seen a record number of illegal border crossings. Americans tend to trust former President Donald Trump more to handle the issue than Biden.

A Siena College survey released on Feb. 8 found Suozzi leading Pilip 48% to 44% among likely voters, but the same poll found Trump five points ahead of Biden in the district. An earlier Emerson College poll indicated the former congressman had a three-point edge among registered voters, and was leading by 14 points when only those who were “very likely” to participate in the special election were included.

The Cook Political Report had characterized the vacant seat as in the “Toss Up” category for 2024.

Clear Thoughts (op-ed)

The recent special election in New York’s Third Congressional District, where former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi emerged victorious, should serve as a wake-up call for conservatives. Despite a GOP candidate with an impressive background, Democrats outspent and outmaneuvered Republicans, ultimately securing a swing district seat.

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Immigration, the top issue among voters in this district, was exploited by both sides. Republicans attacked Suozzi’s stance on the issue, while Democrats painted Pilip as a “MAGA” movement member. This strategy, coupled with a significant funding advantage, ultimately proved successful for the Democrats.

Conservatives must recognize the importance of addressing key issues like immigration head-on, and not be complacent in swing districts. Additionally, we must invest in strong candidates and campaigns to counteract the Democrats’ financial advantage. If we don’t adapt, we risk losing more seats in future elections.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. jeff Taylor

    February 18, 2024 at 2:07 pm

    So the top concerns by the electorate was immigration but the they voted for someone who supports more illegal immigration,,, what a pathetic voter block,, they deserve what they vote for,, pure ignorance.

  2. Stephc

    April 12, 2024 at 7:08 am

    Clearly New Yorkers remain stupid. They have no right to complain about the disaster their state is in since they keep electing people who truly don’t care about them and their children. Enjoy your cesspool New York

  3. Thoma

    April 14, 2024 at 7:30 am

    It really is amazing how the majority of New Yorkers keep voting for more traffic congestion and higher rents. Yep, absolutely amazing!

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