Democrats cut Republican majority in Congress with special election win

14 February 2024, 04:34

Election 2024 House New York
Election 2024 House New York. Picture: PA

Tom Suozzi defeated Republican Mazi Pilip in Tuesday’s election, called after Republican George Santos was expelled from Congress.

The Democrats have narrowed the slim Republican majority in the House of Representatives after winning a special election in New York.

Democrat Tom Suozzi defeated Republican Mazi Pilip in Tuesday’s election for New York’s third congressional district, called after Republican George Santos was expelled from Congress, to retake a seat he held for three terms before running unsuccessfully for governor.

The victory gives Democrats a much-needed win in New York City’s Long Island suburbs, where the Republicans have showed surprising strength in recent elections.

Mr Suozzi, a political centrist, has leaned into some of the same issues that Republicans have used to bash Democrats, calling for tougher US border policies and a rollback of New York laws that made it tougher for judges to detain criminal suspects awaiting trial.

Election 2024 House New York
Supporters of Tom Suozzi cheer while watching live updates (Stefan Jeremiah/AP)

His win will likely reassure Democrats they can perform well in suburban communities across the nation, which will be critical to the party’s efforts to retake control of the US House and re-elect President Joe Biden.

Forecasting for November could be complicated given that turnout, already expected to be low, was potentially hampered by a storm that dumped several inches of snow on the district on election day.

In the short term, the result could be a factor in ultra-tight votes in the House, where Republicans hold just a 219-212 majority.

House Republicans voted on Tuesday night to impeach Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by a single vote, punishing the Biden administration over its border policies.

The unusual midwinter election became necessary after Mr Santos was ousted by his colleagues in December, partway through his first term.

He won office in what had been a reliably Democratic district partly by falsely portraying himself as an American success story — a son of working-class immigrants who made himself into a wealthy Wall Street dealmaker.

But many elements of Santos’ life story were later exposed as fabrications and he was indicted on multiple charges including allegations he stole money from Republican donors. He has pleaded not guilty.

Democrats and Republicans will get a chance to fight over the congressional seat again in November’s general election, although the state’s congressional districts are set to be redrawn again in the next few months because of a court order.

New York is expected to play an outsize role in determining control of Congress this year, with competitive races in multiple contests around New York City.

By Press Association

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