Democrats Rush to Avoid Loss in Fight for Santos’ House Seat

( – A Democrat and a Republican are battling it out over the New York State House seat vacated by disgraced Republican Representative George Santos. Santos was expelled from the House in December 2023 after being caught in a lengthy series of lies about his non-existent educational credentials, and other claims such as the falsehood that he was descended from Holocaust survivors.

The Democratic machine picked Tom Suozzi, a former congressman and longtime politician, as its candidate to put up against newcomer Republican, Mazi Melesa Pilip. But even though the Democrats are spending on Suozzi’s campaign to beat the band—they’ve ponied up $4 million more than the GOP for campaign ads—the party is worried.

Suozzi himself said, “It’s a very tough seat” to grasp and defend, referring to the state’s 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses part of Queens and Long Island. The District is the wealthiest in the Empire State, and the fourth-wealthiest in the U.S.

Democrats are having a harder time getting elected there because of voter discontent with how the party is handling the economy and immigration. The U.S. is experiencing a historically unprecedented wave of illegal immigration—some 6 million under President Joe Biden’s watch—and so many of those have landed in New York City and the region around it that the area is buckling financially.

Ahead of the February 13th special election for the seat, party officials are nervous. So is the candidate. Suozzi said “the Democratic brand is in trouble here,” and that there’s a lot of work to do if they want to push past that and win the seat.

His opponent, Pilip, poses some special competitive challenges, too. Though the Democratic Party sees itself as the natural political home of ethnic minorities, Pilip is an Israeli immigrant originally from Ethiopia, and she’s running with the GOP. What’s more, she’s a fan of embattled former President Donald Trump. When asked if she would welcome Trump’s campaign help, she responded enthusiastically in the affirmative.

But Pilip is slightly cagey about other matters relating to Trump. While she said she would support him if he becomes the official Republican nominee, she refused to say whether she’d continue that support if Trump is convicted of any crimes in the numerous legal battles facing him.

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