Suozzi easily defeats Mazi in race for Santo’s seat with national implications

Suozzi easily defeats Mazi in race for Santo’s seat with national implications
Tom Suozzi has been elected to represent New York's Third Congressional District to replace George Santos after his opponent Mazi Pilip conceded and unofficial election results point to a win. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

Democrat Tom Suozzi easily defeated Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip in a hotly contested special election with national implications Tuesday night for the congressional seat vacated by disgraced former Rep. George Santos.

With 100% of the precincts reporting, Suozzi had won 91,338 of the votes to Pilip’s 78,229 – nearly 54% to 46% – in a race with unexpectedly high turnout despite snow early Tuesday.

Nearly 85% of the vote came from the Nassau County portion of a district that stretches from Massapequa to the south, up across the North Shore and into eastern Queens.

“Despite all the attacks. Despite all the lies about Tom Suozzi and the Squad. About Tom Suozzi being the godfather of the migrant crisis. Sanctuary Suozzi,” Suozzi said in claiming victory at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. “Despite the dirty tricks. Despite the vaunted Nassau County Republican machine. We won!”

“This race was fought amidst the closely divided electorate, much like our country,” Suozzi went on to say. “This race was centered on immigration and the economy much like the issues all across our country. We won this race, we, you won this race… and we found a way to bind our divisions.”

Suozzi’s win represented the first significant victory in a major race for Nassau Democrats in three years.

Jay Jacobs, the Nassau County and New York State Democratic Party chair, called Suozzi the “comeback kid” for reclaiming his congressional seat after stepping down to run in an unsuccessful primary bid for governor in 2022.

In a concession speech to her supporters at the Lannin restaurant in East Meadow, Pilip said: “We are fighters. Yes, we lost, but it doesn’t end here.”

The race heavily focused on national issues such as abortion and immigration with Suozzi at the end contrasting his support for bipartisan border security legislation developed in the Senate that Pilip opposed.

Former President Donald Trump, who is the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican nomination, called Pilip “a very foolish” woman for not seeking his endorsement on social media.

Trump claimed MAGA voters did not turn out for Pilip because she did not show him respect and that Suozzi “can easily be beaten.”

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Trump’s opponent in the Republican primaries, blamed Trump for the loss, repeating her argument that Trump’s presence hurt the chances of GOP candidates.

Suozzi faced off against Republican Nassau County District 10 Legislator Mazi Pilip, who conceded in the race before votes were finalized.

While Suozzi won by a 23% margin in Queens, the race came closer between the two candidates in Nassau County.

According to the New York City Board of Elections’ unofficial election night results, Suozzi won with 61.38%, or 15,205 total votes in Queens. Pilip received 38.33%, or 9,495 total votes.

In Nassau County, Suozzi secured 52.46% of the votes, or 76,133 in total. Pilip garnered 47.37% of the votes, or 68,734 total votes, according to the Nassau County Board of Elections.

Overall, Suozzi secured his Congressional win Tuesday night with 53.7% of the total votes versus Pilip’s 45.99%, according to the New York State’s Board of Elections.

As of Wednesday morning all of the election districts had been counted.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman spoke in support of Pilip before the election was called, saying he wasn’t concerned about voter turnout since numbers were improving throughout the day.

“Republicans like to vote on Election Day, Democrats like early voting,” he said.

When asked about how George Santos might impact voters, Blakeman described Santos as a “complete nonfactor” and “certainly not important” for voters in the 3rd Congressional District in New York.

Suozzi’s win comes months after Republicans swept elections in Nassau County and throughout Long Island in November.

“We’ve had some rough times, we’ve had some bumps,” Jacobs said. “But, boy, tonight’s a great one.”

The congressional district now flips from Republican to Democrat as Suozzi is set to take over his former post previously held by the ousted Santos.

Suozzi’s election to the House will impact its partisanship, shrinking the majority Republicans hold by bringing it to a 219-213 split.

Santos was expelled from Congress on Dec. 1 after the House of Representatives voted him out of office after being subject to scrutiny and ethics probes for lying to voters about himself. He now faces a federal indictment of 23 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds and was amid plea negotiations in December.

In the wake of Santos’ expulsion ensued a special election to replace him, constituting a two-month campaign race before voters headed to the polls Tuesday night.

Suozzi, who describes himself as a middle-of-the-road Democrat, represented the 3rd Congressional District over three terms in the House from January 2017 to January 2023. He previously served as the Nassau County executive from 2002-2009 and the mayor of Glen Cove from 1994-2001 – the start of his political career.

His 10-point plan includes addressing inflation and rising prices, tackling the influx of migrants by securing the border and streamlining processing, protecting the environment and bolstering public safety.

Suozzi ran on a campaign of working across party lines to seek solutions for the district’s constituents, advocating against the political divide present in politics today.

“So now, we have to carry the message of this campaign to the United States Congress and across our entire country,” Suozzi said. “It’s time to move beyond the petty partisan bickering and the finger-pointing. It’s time to focus on how to solve the problems.”

The special election campaign was riddled with conflict between the two candidates, with a series of political ads focused on attacking their competitor and a penultimate debate that was filled with a slew of jabs.

The campaign brought an emphasis on transparency by the Democrat, who said it stems from being in a “post-Santos world.”

This was a main argument amid Pilip’s refusal to debate with Suozzi, excluding a singular one days before Election Day, and her not making herself available to the local press and civic associations.

Suozzi left one message to the Republicans in Congress Tuesday night: “Stop running around for Trump and start running the country.”

“Either get on board or get out of the way,” Suozzi said.

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here