By Brooke Mallory
6:09 PM – Thursday, December 7, 2023
In order to replace outgoing GOP Representative George Santos in the forthcoming special election, New York Democrats have nominated former Representative Tom Suozzi.
Leaders from Queens County and Nassau County came together on Thursday to cast their votes for Suozzi, who is most likely going to be the party’s choice. He had previously served as the competitive Long Island-based 3rd District representative before quitting Congress last year to pursue an abortive bid for governor.
“Tom Suozzi has a proven record of fighting for his constituents, fighting to safeguard our suburban way of life here on Long Island and Queens and always advocating for sensible solutions to the real challenges affecting everyday average Americans,” said Nassau County Democrat Party Chair Jay Jacobs and Representative Gregory Meeks, the Queens County Democrat chairman, in a joint statement.
The Republican running against Suozzi in the special election scheduled for February 13th that will decide who replaces Santos is still unknown.
Santos was banned from the House following a damning Ethics Committee investigation that claimed he had committed a plethora of federal crimes throughout his 2022 campaign.
Republican spokesperson for Nassau County, Michael Deery, maintained that Republicans plan to choose their nominee early next week. A nominee will be chosen by the Republican county party chairs, and this week, party leaders have been interviewing around twenty possible contenders.
In order to avoid a scenario like the one the GOP encountered with Santos, Deery also verified that the party is collaborating with a company to perform extensive background checks on possible candidates.
News reports after Santos’ election in 2022 disclosed that he had embellished most of his past.
Other possible Republican contenders include Mazi Melesa Pilip, a lawmaker from Nassau County, and retired New York police officer Mike Sapraicone.
However, Politico claimed earlier this week that Pilip has been a registered Democrat since 2012.
Politico also revealed that Sapraicone was charged in a lawsuit with falsifying a confession while working as a detective and suppressing evidence. The outlet was purportedly informed by Sapraicone’s representative that the former detective “only worked in a supportive role during this case” and was unaware of the complaint.
Regardless of the Republican nominee, Suozzi, a three-term representative of the 3rd District before quitting Congress to take on Democrat New York Governor Kathy Hochul in a contentious primary, will be a formidable opponent.
As the party considered selecting a nominee, Jacobs mentioned that he had been consulting with Hochul. According to an insider source familiar with the discussion, Hochul called Suozzi to Albany on Monday and put further pressure on him to win.
Suozzi made a special commitment to “back abortion rights and ensure that his campaign did not damage the Democratic Party’s reputation.” The source claims that Suozzi also expressed regret to Hochul for his unfavorable primary campaign. Later, Hochul gave her approval and he agreed to run for Congress.
“We had a good meeting and cleared the air, and I appreciate her making the time,” Suozzi said in a statement. “At a time of strong political division, I offered to be another moderate voice as the governor works to solve problems and make progress.”