Tom Suozzi Wins Special Election To Replace George Santos

Tom Suozzi. (Photo by Rob Cuni)

Tom Suozzi Wins Special Election To Replace George Santos

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove)  has defeated Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (R-Great Neck) in the special election to replace disgraced former Rep. George Santos in New York’s third congressional district. 

As of press time, the Associated Press had Suozzi winning by a margin of 55% to 45%.

The third district covers a portion of northeast Queens, as well as the entirety of the Towns of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay. With Suozzi’s election, he is now the sole Democratic congressman on Long Island, with the three other seats being held by Republican Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, Andrew Garbarino, and Nick LaLota.

“The only way we’re gonna be in trouble is we let ourselves continue to be divided from within,” Suozzi said in his victory speech. “So this whole campaign has been about how do we communicate to people that we can be better if we work together to try and solve the problems we face in our country, and that’s the message.”

Suozzi held this seat from 2017 to 2023, and comfortably won election to it three times – perhaps most notably when he defeated the then-unknown Santos in 2020. However, Suozzi’s elections to the district were prior to the 2022 redrawing of the district’s lines. With Santos’s large margin of victory over Democrat Robert Zimmerman in 2022, the new district, which now includes portions of southeast Nassau County such as Levittown and Massapequa, may be more of a swing district than it was under Suozzi’s previous tenure.

Mazi Pilip conceded shortly after the race was called for Suozzi.Ed Shin

“I want to say how proud I am of all of you,” Pilip said in her concession speech. “Yes, we lost but it doesn’t end here. I called my opponent to congratulate him. I want to thank chairman Cairo for his hard work. We are not going to give up. We are going to bring common sense to government.”

Since this was a special election to fill out the remainder of Santos’s term as he was expelled in December, Suozzi will still have to run in November.

Santos won election to the seat in November of 2022. Most of his background was exposed as fabrications by the New York Times the next month. He took office in January, but soon saw himself facing up to 23 federal counts of campaign finance fraud, and following a scathing House Ethics report in November of 2023, he was expelled from Congress.

Former President Donald Trump took to Truth Social, where he raged at Pilip for not endorsing him for president and claimed Suozzi “can be easily beaten” in November.

“I have an almost 99% Endorsement Success Rate in Primaries, and a very good number in the General Elections, as well, but just watched this very foolish woman, Mazi Melesa Pilip, running in a race where she didn’t endorse me and tried to “straddle the fence,” when she would have easily WON if she understood anything about MODERN DAY politics in America,” the former president wrote.