Democrats flip George Santos' seat in crucial New York special election

The big snowstorm ended up affecting the performance of the Republican candidate, Mazi Pilip, who succumbed to her rival Tom Suozzi.

It’s official: the empty seat in Congress that belonged to the expelled George Santos, former Republican representative, will be occupied by veteran Democrat Tom Suozzi. The Democrat defeated Mazi Pilip in the special elections for the 3rd district of New York on a day marked by an intense snowstorm that hit the northeast of the United States.

When this article was published, with 85% of the votes counted, Suozzi had an advantage of almost nine percentage points over Pilip, 54.2% against 45.8%.

Suozzi, a former Long Island representative and mayor of Glen Cove from 1994 to 2001, is a career Democrat who ran as a moderate against Pilip, who took a strong tone on the issue that dominated the race: illegal immigration.

Although Pilip tried to present her opponent as a progressive with open borders, Suozzi moderated his immigration speech with respect to progressive Democrats and steered clear of being linked to Joe Biden as much as possible while also avoiding campaigning with Governor Kathy Hochul, who is very unpopular on Long Island.

The Democrat called Pilip a radical and referred to her as “a George Santos 2.0,” trying to capture the dissatisfied voters who gave their vote of confidence to the GOP.

The defeat is especially hard for the Republican Party, which sees its narrow majority in Congress shrink even further, now with a margin of 219-213.

Furthermore, this was a seat that Santos had won in the midterms with 53% of the vote, beating Democrat Robert Zimmerman by a solid margin and flipping a seat that had belonged to the Democrats for over a decade. This milestone has now been overshadowed by the scandals surrounding Santos, the conflicts of the GOP in Congress and the poor performance of Pilip.

The snowstorm, one of the most intense in recent years in New York City, significantly affected Pilip’s performance as attendance at the polls was impacted on election day.

Suozzi, while also having to deal with the effects of the storm, benefited from early voting. In fact, the low participation compared to 2022 was a determining factor in this election.

Even so, the result is surprising since a JL Partners survey published on Monday night placed the candidates only one percentage point apart, with Suozzi in the lead with 46% and 9% undecided.

For this reason, the overwhelming result in favor of the Democrat is sparking strong criticism among Republican analysts.

Tonight is the final wakeup call for the @HouseGOP. If they ignore or attempt to explain away why they lost, they will lose in November as well,” wrote renowned consultant Frank Luntz.

“New York has become the epicenter of the immigration debate. It has been washed by wave after wave of illegal immigrants who are consuming resources and contributing to crime. Even liberals have begun to groan,” said conservative analyst Pedro González. “A Democrat still managed to beat a Republican in NY3 tonight. But there’s just a complete lack of any desire to reflect on why this stuff happens, just anything to avoid having to confront what the right and GOP have turned into.”