Democrats flip George Santos’ seat, cutting GOP’s slim majority even further

Democrats flip George Santos’ seat, cutting GOP’s slim majority even further

Democrat Tom Suozzi will be returning to Congress after winning Tuesday’s special election to replace former Republican Rep. George Santos, who was expelled from the House in an unprecedented December vote.

Suozzi’s victory slices the GOP’s already slim majority even further. Following his victory, Democrats will hold 213 seats in the House to 219 for Republicans. Three more seats are vacant—one previously held by a Democrat and two that were held by Republicans. If, as is likely, all three seats are retained by the party that last held them in upcoming special elections, Democrats will need to flip just four more seats in November to take back control of the chamber.

Suozzi, who had held New York’s 3rd District for three terms before unsuccessfully running for governor in 2022, was leading Republican Mazi Pilip by a 59-41 margin with an estimated 52% of the vote tallied when the race was called. Republicans ran a barrage of ads attacking Suozzi over immigration, but Democrats fired back by emphasizing Pilip’s opposition to abortion.

Democrats performed poorly in New York in the midterms, allowing Santos to flip the Long Island-based 3rd District as a political outsider with a fabricated resume. While party leaders protected him for the better part of a year, he eventually became the first Republican in history to be removed from Congress after federal prosecutors indicted him for fraud.

That expulsion paved the way for Suozzi’s comeback bid, which received much greater financial support than Pilip’s campaign. Democratic groups spent a combined total of $13 million to aid the former congressman while Pilip, a member of the Nassau County legislature, benefited from just $8 million in outside help. Suozzi also raised much more money, bringing in more than $4.7 million versus just $1.4 million reported by Pilip.

Suozzi will have to defend this seat again in November, when all 435 districts in the House will be up for reelection. After Pilip’s failure, however, Republicans may choose to go in a different direction in the June 25 primary for a full term. Republicans will also be left wondering whether their message stoking fears over immigration will be any more effective in the fall, while Democrats are certain to keep hammering the GOP on reproductive rights.

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