Democrats flip George Santos' New York congressional seat as Tom Suozzi wins special election

New York, New York - Voters in suburban New York picked a Democrat to replace expelled Republican Congressman George Santos on Tuesday after President Joe Biden's party poured cash into TV ads to flip the seat in an election year.

Democrat Tom Suozzi (c.) won a New York special election to replace disgraced former Republican Congressman George Santos.
Democrat Tom Suozzi (c.) won a New York special election to replace disgraced former Republican Congressman George Santos.  © REUTERS

CNN and NBC News both called the special election in favor of Tom Suozzi, forecasting that he had defeated Republican Mazi Pilip.

Suozzi, a veteran politician who previously held the seat and quit to unsuccessfully run for New York state governor, will serve out the remaining 11 months of fraudster Santos' term in the House.

The win chips away at the Republicans' narrow majority in the lower chamber of Congress.

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"Thank God," Suozzi said in a victory speech in Woodbury after the race was called. A crowd of supporters began chanting his name as protesters holding Palestinian flags briefly stormed the stage, shouting "genocide" due to his unconditional support for Israel and its war on Palestinians.

"Despite all the lies... about Tom Suozzi being the godfather of the migrant crisis... despite the dirty tricks... we won."

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, said Suozzi's victory "was good news for New York."

"We are fighters, I called my opponent and congratulated him," Pilip said in her concession speech in East Meadow.

New York special election marked by heavy snow and attack ads

Republican candidate Mazi Pilip (c.) was portrayed as being against abortion rights.
Republican candidate Mazi Pilip (c.) was portrayed as being against abortion rights.  © REUTERS

Pre-election polling had showed that the race was tight, with Democrats reportedly spending $14 million on advertising and the Republicans $8 million.

Aggressive attack ads were used by both sides, with Republicans seeking to paint Suozzi as soft on immigration, while Democrats characterized Pilip as against abortion rights.

Deep snow in New York's third congressional district, which includes small parts of Queens and Long Island's wealthy North Shore in Nassau, threatened to deter voters as authorities warned against driving.

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Both Suozzi and Pilip's campaigns responded by offering a dial-a-ride service for voters, while there were media reports that the Republicans paid for plows to clear roads in areas sympathetic to the party.

Santos became only the third person to be ejected as a US lawmaker since the Civil War, in a move previously reserved for traitors and convicted criminals. He had won a House seat in 2022, helping the Republicans secure a tiny majority, but it quickly emerged that his backstory was largely a fabrication.

Santos, who has denied criminal wrongdoing, allegedly used donor money for Botox treatments and the OnlyFans porn website, as well as luxury Italian goods and vacations, according to a House Ethics Committee report.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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