Poll Shows Tight Race In Special Election For George Santos Congressional Seat

Fresh polling continues to show a tight race ahead of New York’s special election to fill George Santos’ vacant congressional seat.

Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip and former New York Rep. Tom Suozzi.

Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip and former New York Rep. Tom Suozzi.

Photo Credit: Facebook/Mazi Melesa Pilip; US House

Who Would You Rather Represent New York's 3rd District In Congress?
Final Results Voting Closed

Who Would You Rather Represent New York's 3rd District In Congress?

  • Mazi Pilip (R)
  • Tom Suozzi (D)

A Newsday/Siena College poll of likely 3rd District voters released Thursday, Feb. 8, shows Democrat Tom Suozzi narrowly leading Republican Mazi Pilip 48 to 44 percent.

Though both candidates have breakeven favorability ratings, voters feel that Suozzi would do a better job on protecting democracy, addressing the issue of abortion, and making Congress work more effectively, said Don Levy, Siena College Research Institute’s director.

“Pilip is viewed as better on addressing the influx of migrants and by a slim margin on establishing American policy towards the Israel-Hamas war,” he said.

The 3rd District seat – which represents parts of Nassau County and Queens – has sat vacant since Santos was ousted in a historic vote in December 2023 amid mounting federal criminal charges.

Since then, the district’s nearly 771,00 constituents have found themselves without a voice in the US House of Representatives.

The Candidates:

Tom Suozzi

Suozzi previously held the seat before resigning in 2022 to launch an ultimately unsuccessful campaign for New York governor. 

Prior to representing the 3rd District, he was Nassau County Executive from 2002 to 2009 after serving as mayor of Glen Cove for eight years.

During his time in Congress, he was a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the International Conservation Caucus, and the Climate Solutions Caucus. He voted in line with President Joe Biden’s stated position 100 percent of the time.

On the campaign trail, he outlined a 10-point plan to “restore sanity in Washington,” that includes reducing prescription drug prices, addressing climate change, and reducing gun violence through community policing and social services. He also supports abortion access, holding a 100 percent lifetime rating from Planned Parenthood.

Among those to publicly endorse Suozzi are Gov. Kathy Hochul and former State Sen. Anna Kaplan. 

He is also backed by several prominent labor unions, including the United Auto Workers, New York State Nurses Association, the New York State Unified Teachers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Mazi Pilip

Pilip immigrated from Ethiopia to Israel as a refugee when she was 12 years old. She later served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

She was elected to the Nassau County Legislature in November 2021 after defeating four-term incumbent Ellen Birnbaum by seven percentage points. She was re-elected in November 2023 by a 20-point margin.

On the campaign trail, Pilip outlined her own “10-point plan,” which includes tax relief by restoring the SALT deduction, securing the border, and repealing New York’s cashless bail law. 

She also vowed to combat antisemitism by investing in safety patrols at places of worship and increasing punishments for hate crimes.

She has been endorsed by Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, as well as the county’ Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Benevolent Associations, and the National Border Patrol Council, among other labor unions.

Debate Night

Suozzi and Pilip will face off in their first and only debate on Thursday night, Feb. 8. The town hall-style event will air on News 12 and be moderated by anchor Rich Barrabi and will air at 8:30 p.m.

The special election will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

What Do You Think?

Who would you rather represent New York’s 3rd District in Congress? Sound off in our poll above.

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