The snowy weather seemed to slow things down on the morning of Feb. 13 at this Williston Park polling site, but they picked up as the day went on. (Photo by Cathy Bongiorno)

Democrat Tom Suozzi Wins New York’s Special Election For Congressional District 3

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, New York State hosted a special election for New York’s 3rd Congressional District. Following former District 3 Congressman George Santos’ expulsion from the U.S. House of Representatives, Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (REP) and former United States Representative Tom Suozzi (DEM) ran for the seat.

Suozzi won the seat with roughly 54 percent of the vote, with Pilip conceding that evening.

As of Nov. 1, 2023, New York’s third congressional district, representing much of Nassau County and part of Queens, contained 531,319 active registered voters and 39,375 inactive ones.

As of the afternoon of Feb. 14, the number of votes for Tom Suozzi was counted at 91,338, and the number for Mazi Pilip was at 78,229.

That makes 169,567 votes for any candidate according to a Feb. 14 tally, with 93 percent of all ballots counted. In other words, nearly 32 percent of active registered voters cast a ballot in the special election (with more yet to be counted, as of press time), whether they showed up on election day or took advantage of often more convenient vote-by-mail or early voting options.

For context, 279,143 total ballots were cast in NY-03 in the 2022 gubernatorial race between Kathy Hochul and Lee Zeldin.

According to one poll worker we spoke to, who was at one polling location in Plainview from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. helping his neighbors do their civic duty, the morning of Feb. 13 was predictably slow, given the snowstorm passing through. After the weather wrapped up, their location saw more traffic in the afternoon and evening, with roughly 300 people stopping by at their location throughout the day.

Tom Suozzi
(Photo from Tom Suozzi’s office)

Anton Media Group spoke with Suozzi in December when the candidates for District 3 were first announced.

When asked about issues that most concern him in District 3, Suozzi said, “My constituents are most concerned about the cost of living, so what’s important to me is to get the state and local tax deduction back and continue trying to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. I’ve had some progress on that already.” He continued, “I think people are very upset about the immigration crisis, and there has to be a bipartisan compromise. Every Republican and every Democratic president for the past 40 years has failed to address this issue and there needs to be a bipartisan compromise.”

In addition, Suozzi shared that he is planning on working on bipartisanship in the House. “I’m going to ask [House Minority Leader and Leader of the House Democratic Caucus Congressman] Hakeem Jeffries to create a committee on bipartisanship to try to promote bipartisanship in the house,” said Suozzi.

Looking back on his experience as an elected official, Suozzi said, “I have a proven ability to get things done for my constituents and I have relationships with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. I know how to navigate legislation and politics and to bring help back to the people of my district.”

After Pilip conceded the election, Suozzi addressed a crowd of supporters at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. Among the crowd at the Crest Hollow Country Club were protesters who were quickly ushered away.

“Despite all the attacks, despite all the lies about Tom Suozzi and the squad, about Tom Suozzi being the godfather of the migrant crisis, about sanctuary Suozzi,” Suozzi said, referencing campaign materials against him. “Despite the dirty tricks, despite the vaunted Nassau County Republican machine, we won.”

The crowd cheered.

“This race was fought amidst a closely divided electorate, much like our whole country,” Suozzi said. “This race was centered on immigration and the economy, much like the issues all across our country… We, you, won this race because we addressed the issues and found the way to bind our divisions.”

In regard to the protesters, Suozzi said “There are divisions in our country. People can’t even talk to each other. All we can do is yell and scream at each other, and that’s not an answer to the problems we face in our country. The answer is to try to bring the people of goodwill together to try and find a common ground.”

After more applause, Suozzi said they won the campaign because the people of Queens and Long Island were sick and tired of the political bickering.

“We have to carry the message of this campaign to the United States Congress and across our entire country,” Suozzi said. “It’s time to move beyond the petty, partisan bickering and the finger-pointing. It’s time to focus on how to solve the problems. It’s time to get to work on immigration, on Israel, on combating [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, on helping the middle class and getting the state and local tax deduction back. Let’s send a message to our friends running the Congress these days: stop running around for Trump and start running the country. It’s time to find common ground and start delivering for the people of the United States of America.”

Suozzi then thanked everyone at the Crest Hollow Country Club and the people involved with the campaign.

“The 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,” Suozzi said. “That’s the message that resonated with the people in this campaign. This was a really tough campaign and we only won because of that message and because of all of you.”

Suozzi, after thanking Jay Jacobs, the chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee and the chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, Congressman Gregory Meeks, said this has been the best campaign that he’s ever been involved with.

He also thanked his family, campaign staff, the men and women of labor, grassroots organizations, all his supporters, among others. “I’ve got to thank Glen Cove,” Suozzi said of his hometown. “I am so thankful for Glen Cove.”

Reactions To Suozzi’s Win
DCCC (The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) Chair Suzan DelBene released the following statement after Tom Suozzi won the special election in NY-03 to replace George Santos: “Today the voters of New York’s Third Congressional District chose experienced leadership over extremism. Tom Suozzi ran a formidable campaign that prioritized the issues that matter most to families across Queens and Nassau County: protecting reproductive freedom, bipartisan solutions to address border security, and lowering costs. In Tom, voters will once again have a representative they can trust. I am thrilled to be able to call Tom a colleague once again and am excited for him to bring back his results-oriented, commonsense approach to governing to the People’s House.”

Statement from New York State Senator Jack Martins (District 7): “I’m naturally disappointed because I know Mazi Pilip would have certainly made a great Congresswoman. But Mr. Suozzi was the people’s choice, so I congratulate him on his victory and stand ready to work with him. My hope is that when the dust settles, he’s true to his campaign promises: that he rejects Washington’s self-made border crisis; that he supports law enforcement including ICE, that he repeals the SALT tax cap, and most importantly, that he publicly speak out against the extremism of ‘the squad.’ The next 10 months are really a litmus test on his ability to stand up to his party on the issues and work across the aisle for all Long Islanders.”

Statement from New York State Assemblymember Charles Lavine (District 13): “Especially on Long Island and in the metropolitan area and in New York State, we need some champions of reason in the House of Representatives. With his more centrist views and his strong ability and capacity to communicate, Tom is going to be in a great position to advocate for our suburban values and our New York values, and his will be an important voice. I think that people also realize if they would have elected Mazi, she would never have an independent voice and she would do exactly as she was told to do by the Republican hierarchy.”

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