Party Nominees Selected in New York Special Election to Fill Vacancy Left by Ex-Rep. George Santos

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.

Democrats have settled on pro-abortion former Congressman Tom Suozzi as their nominee for the special election. Suozzi held the seat for three terms from 2017-2023. He unsuccessfully challenged New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) in the 2022 gubernatorial race. During his time in Congress, Suozzi earned a 0% pro-life rating from National Right to Life.

Republicans have put forth Mazi Melesa Pilip, a Nassau County legislator with a compelling personal story, as their nominee. Born in Ethiopia, Pilip immigrated to Israel as a refugee at age 12 and later, the United States after marrying her husband.

Pilip is currently a Nassau County, Long Island legislator serving the 10th District. She and her husband have seven children. When asked about her position on abortion, she has stated that she is pro-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 full-throated reaffirmation of his support for unlimited abortion. According to reporting by the New York Times, Governor Kathy Hochul (D), Suozzi’s one-time rival, 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 tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions in many federal programs. Hyde has been in place since 1976 and is credited with saving over 2.5 million lives from abortion.)

Regardless of public posturing, Suozzi’s pro-abortion voting record speaks for itself. While in Congress, Suozzi 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-like 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 attempted 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. 

In 2022, ex-Congressman George Santos (R) defeated Robert Zimmerman (D), a Democratic National Committee member and communications professional, by a margin of 53.7% to 46.2% (or 20,000 votes) in the 3rd Congressional District. If the current Congressional map been in place in 2020, Joe Biden would have carried the district over Donald Trump. New York’s 3rd Congressional District was one of just eighteen Biden districts represented by a Republican. Democrats hold a 2-point edge in voter registration in the district. The Cook Political Report classifies the race as a Tossup.

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.