George Santos’s Replacement May be a Gamechanger for Democrats

By Elizabeth Volpert

Former Representative George SantosWikiCommons
On Tuesday, February 13, Long Island residents voted in a special election to choose a representative to fill George Santos’s vacated seat. The Republican representative, Mazi Pilip lost to Democrat Tom Suozzi by over 13,000 votes. Suozzi took back the seat he held for 6 years before Santos, which has narrowed the gap between Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives; now a close 219 - 213. This could be a significant aid to the Democrats in the November elections.
George Santos was elected to congress on January 3, 2023, and was expelled less than a year later. From lying on his resume, to falsely claiming his mother was in the World Trade Center on 9/11, Santos was truly a character, but not one fit to be serving in the United States government. With a vacant seat in the House of Representatives, the residents of Long Island needed to select a person to represent them in the remainder of Santos’ term.
Tom Suozzi, a Long Island native, began his political career 30 years ago, when he became mayor of Glen Clove in 1993. Years later, Suozzi held the position of New York’s 3rd Congressional District Representative for six years prior to Santos. During his time in the position, he backed assault weapon bans, infrastructure expansion, numerous acts for women’s rights, and the impeachment of former president Donald Trump.
He often speaks of lowering taxes and crime rate as being his priorities, and a way to bolster local services. With years of experience, he was a tough opponent, but the Republicans chose someone who they knew would rise to the challenge.
Mazi Pilip, an Ethiopian immigrant, grew up in Israel, where she served in the Israel Defense Force. While she has run Republican, Pilip has been a registered Democrat since 2012. Being the mother of seven children, and an immigrant herself, Pilip is a spokesperson to the importance of preventing illegal immigration, as well as supporting Israel in the war against Hamas. Being a veteran, Pilip has spoken on the misconceptions of the Israeli army, saying that while the Hamas terrorists killed over 1,000 innocent Jews on October 8, the Israeli forces are “never trained to kill,” even in life or death situations.
Much like her opponent, Pilip’s campaign includes a focus on tax cuts – specifically for the middle class – and crime rate reduction. She also opposes the Clean Slate Act, an act intended to prevent workplace discrimination against previously convicted individuals. Contrary to what her party often represents, Pilip is against a national abortion ban.
“Suozzi and Mazi” as many nicknamed the rivalry, represent two sides of the Long Island population. Suozzi, being a lifelong resident, can  make decisions based on his own experience, while Mazi represents the 300,000 Jews living on Long Island, and can bring a new perspective to the sector. With two very different opponents, a win for either would have been a drastic step for upcoming elections, as well as the district.
Tom Suozzi’s win means that the gap between Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives has decreased. Ms. S, the Upper School IB Biology teacher and Long Island resident voted for Suozzi. “It wasn’t so much a vote for Tom Suozzi as a vote against the Republican party who I vote against because they do not support women's rights.. However, I like the level of experience he has.”
Many likely had the same idea when voting for Suozzi, as the 3rd congressional district has historically been a swing district. Having one of the wealthiest districts in the country backing the Democrats may not be substantial enough to greatly affect the presidential election, but turning it blue is a step in the right direction. “I don’t know how much of an effect it will have, but what’s encouraging is that it’s a Democratic win in a once Republican region. It’s a sign of hope for November for the Democrats.” said Ms. S.
With three vacancies still present, the gap between the Dems and the GOP could potentially close even more in the spring special elections. Hope for a Democratic win in the presidential election is on the horizon, and Suozzi could have been the first step.