Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Five things to watch in the race to replace George Santos

By 37ci3 Feb13,2024



GREAT NECK, NY – Tuesday 3rd special election in New York Congress district He can do more than replace disgraced former GOP Rep. George Santos in the House. It could have ramifications beyond Long Island House plurality to the November elections.

Former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi faces Republican Mazi Philip, a Nassau County legislator and Ethiopian immigrant who served in the Israel Defense Forces. Suozzi entered the race with high name recognition — he represented District 3 before making an unsuccessful run for governor in 2022.

Although Suozzi and his Democratic allies have an edge over Republicans on the airwaves, strategists in both parties expect a close race on Tuesday.

Here are five things voters should watch for as they head to the polls, which close at 9 p.m. ET:

1. Influence of the majority of the House of Representatives

The GOP holds a paper-thin House majority that has weakened further since Santos’ ouster. The margin is 219 Republicans to 212 Democrats. A win would give the GOP a small cushion in the primary vote, while a loss would puts more pressure on them compromise with Democrats to govern.

Last week, Speaker Mike Johnson’s attempt to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas showed the importance of every vote in the House. failed by only one vote. On many issues, small factions of House Republican rebels have been able to block the administration’s plans to comply.

“The stakes are very high in every election. But when you have a special election with such a thin majority, the stakes are very, very high,” Elise Stefanik, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, told NBC News at an event for Philip on Monday night. “This is the smallest majority in the history of the modern Congress. therefore, every vote is important.”

Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., who represents neighboring Queens and worked to help Suozzi’s election, said a Democratic victory would be “a huge morale booster. Obviously, Republicans are having a little trouble getting their legislation passed. So, they need this victory to function as a House.”

2. Bellwether District for 2024

Tuesday’s results could hint at competitive races in November – The battle for the house will be fought in similar districts. Like other competitive House districts, New York’s 3rd Ward on Long Island is largely suburban and a GOP-held district that Joe Biden won in 2020.

He’s also in a position that has not drawn much attention from presidential campaigns, so Tuesday night’s winner and outsiders will have to shoulder much of the campaign effort in November. But it also allows candidates to localize the race and separate themselves from the national narrative.

Suozzi tried to do this, He emphasized that he is ready to work with both parties Biden’s support in the region has declined since 2020. A Newsday/Siena College poll A poll released last week found Suozzi ahead of Philip by 4 points, within the poll’s margin of error, while Biden trailed former President Donald Trump by 5 points.

Win or lose Tuesday, both Suozzi and Philip have committed to running for a full term in November, so they will face off again this year.

“I think Wednesday morning, whatever it is, it’s over, it’s going to start again,” said Mark Schneider, a resident of Great Neck who voted for Suozzi, on Monday. “So we’re going to have the same kind of campaign, the same type of activity, and a lot of ads.”

3. Will immigration strengthen Republicans?

The the migrant crisis has dominated recent TV ads in the district, and Republicans believe concerns about the influx of migrants to neighboring New York will hurt support for Suozzi.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the main GOP super PAC that spends in House races, has launched the latest TV commercial “Liberals like Suozzi and Eric Adams have rolled out the red carpet for illegal immigrants,” said one narrator, tying Suozzi to New York Mayor Eric Adams.

Suozzi, meanwhile, tried to neutralize the weakness by emphasizing his support. a bilateral border security measure The bill failed last week in the Senate, which argued that Philip, who opposed the bill, was tied to the extremes of his party, which wanted to use border problems for political gain.

Democrats are also counting on GOP opposition to the Trump-led measure. gives them an opening with voters on immigrationRepublicans usually have the upper hand. Tuesday’s special election could be an early test of that strategy, though the back-and-forth over the bill may be too late to affect the race.

4. Can Democrats use issues like abortion and guns?

Democratic fringe groups have partially focused on abortion helped fuel recent Democratic victories After the Supreme Court overturned Roe-Wade.

House Majority PAC, the main Democratic super PAC involved in House races, launched a TV ad Video of Philip saying he is “pro-life”. Philip stressed that he would not support a federal abortion ban, but he dodged questions about whether he would vote to protect access to abortion.

Suozzi tried to use Philip’s refusal to state clear positions on restricting abortions or banning semi-automatic weapons — two weaknesses for Republicans — as further evidence that he is sympathetic to far-right extremists outside the district on those issues. He also accused him of being transparent, calling him “George Santos 2.0”.

Philip said he does not support access to automatic assault rifles. But on their own debate last week on News12 Long Island, Suozzi tried to press Philip on whether he would support a ban on semi-automatic weapons, which is the basis of the proposed bans, and Philip refused to state his position.

5. Will winter weather reduce voter turnout?

A major winter storm that hit Long Island on Election Day could dampen voter turnout.

The forecast has caused some concern among GOP strategists because their constituents tend to vote disproportionately on Election Day compared to Democrats, who vote in greater numbers early. At a rally Monday night in Franklin Square, Philip and top New York Republicans urged their constituents not to let the storm get in the way of voter turnout.

“Rain or snow, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to go out safely – we’re going to go out. We’re going to encourage people to go to the polls safely,” Philip told the crowd. “Because we’re talking about saving our country. The country we love the most.”

Suozzi tried to encourage voters to take advantage of every opportunity to vote, even issuing an advisory Tuesday morning suggesting voters go to the polls if they call a specific number. He also tweeted about the storm on Monday.



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