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Tom Suozzi NY-03

Suozzi wins his old seat back

Former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) is heading back to Congress.

In a closely watched special election on Long Island, Suozzi’s relentless moderate message proved victorious over Republican Mazi Pilip. Suozzi consistently called for stricter immigration policies and distanced himself from national Democrats in an election dominated by the border crisis.

New York’s 3rd District voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 before sending former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) to D.C. two years later. While former President Donald Trump may be toxic in suburban New York, Republicans found success in 2022 thanks to the coattails of gubernatorial candidate former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and soaring crime rates.

But the Democrats succeeded on Tuesday, thanks to a massive spending advantage and a disciplined Suozzi campaign. Suozzi held a plethora of public events, played up his image as a centrist member of the Problem Solvers Caucus and refused to nationalize the race. In contrast, Pilip mostly hid from the media, raised little money and was largely unknown by the electorate.

House Democrats will now increase their margin in Washington, further narrowing Speaker Mike Johnson’s tenuous GOP majority to two votes. With massive government spending deadlines looming, this presents another concern for the embattled speaker.

Republicans will say it’s an impressive feat that they were even competitive in this Democratic-leaning seat. But the political atmosphere was almost perfect for the party given the intense focus on immigration, an issue on which voters favor Republicans. Yet in the end, Republicans weren’t that competitive. Suozzi won 53-46.

“House Republicans have shown how out of touch they are with Americans across the country, and their deeply unpopular extremist policies will ensure their losses at the ballot box,” House Majority PAC President Mike Smith said.

— Max Cohen

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.