By NRL Political Department
On February 13, 2024, voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District will vote in a special election to fill the vacancy left by the expulsion of Congressman George Santos (R) from Congress earlier this month. While Republicans have yet to name their nominee in the race, Democrats have settled on pro-abortion former Congressman Tom Suozzi (D), who held the seat prior to Santos.
In 2022, Santos defeated Democratic National Committee member and communications professional Robert Zimmerman (D) by a margin of 53.7% to 46.2%, or 20,000 votes. However, had the current Congressional map been in place, President Biden would have carried the district in 2020.
New York’s 3rd Congressional District was one of just eighteen Biden districts represented by a Republican in the House. Democrats hold a 2-point edge in voter registration in the district. The Cook Political Report classifies the February special election as a Tossup.
Former Congressman Suozzi held the seat for three terms from 2017-2023. During his time in Congress, Suozzi earned a 0% pro-life rating from National Right to Life.
Democrats plan to make abortion a major issue in the special election. Suozzi’s campaign website prominently features a section on “reproductive freedom,” which states, “Tom will always fight to defend a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions.”
In fact, one of the conditions for Suozzi being chosen as the Democratic nominee in the special election was a reaffirmation of his unequivocal support for unlimited abortion. According to reporting by the New York Times, Governor Kathy Hochul (D), who fended off a primary challenge from Suozzi in the 2022 gubernatorial race, said she “would need Mr. Suozzi to vocally support abortion rights, including the repeal of the Hyde Amendment” in order to earn her backing. (The Hyde Amendment is an appropriations rider that bars the use of tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions in certain federal programs. It has been in place since 1976 and is credited with saving over 2.5 million lives from abortion.)
Governor Hochul may want Suozzi to talk more about abortion on the campaign trail, but regardless of any public posturing, Suozzi’s pro-abortion voting record speaks for itself. While in Congress, Suozzi cosponsored and voted in favor of the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill which would enshrine unlimited abortion in federal law and policies, and strike down existing protections for unborn children and their mothers on the state level. He voted against the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would apply Hyde protections across the federal government and prevent taxpayer dollars from being used for abortions. He also voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would ensure infants who survive abortions receive the same degree of medical care afforded to any other baby born at the same gestational age.
In recognition of his solidly pro-abortion record, Suozzi earned the endorsement of the nation’s largest abortion provider in previous bids for Congress.
With the Republican majority in the U.S. House down to just a handful of seats, both parties are expected to invest considerable resources into winning the special election.
The deadline to register or request a mail-in ballot is February 3rd. Early voting will run February 3-11th. Election Day is February 13, 2024.
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