Democrat Wins Special Election in New York’s 3rd District — By: Church Militant

NEW YORK ( – In an election that finished more robustly than predicted, former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., will now return to Congress after leaving his House seat in 2022 to run unsuccessfully for governor.

Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y.

Suozzi won a convincing 54-46% victory over Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip, R-N.Y., even though five surveys from five different pollsters showed the race within a 1-4 point margin.

Suozzi converts the seat back to the Democratic column, making the partisan division in the House even closer — 219 Republicans vs. 213 Democrats, with three vacancies. It is probable that when all of the vacancies are filled after completing special elections in late April, May and June, the House will sit at 221R-214D heading into the regular 2024 elections.

As has been the pattern around the country, Democrats performed better with those voting before election day. Unofficially, it appears that Suozzi outperformed the regular 2022 early vote number by about three percentage points, both in the categories of early in-person voting and among those who mailed their previously requested absentee ballots.

Once again, the early voting statistics proved a reliable precursor as to which party has the electoral momentum, thus explaining how Suozzi exceeded the polling projections.

Additionally, poor weather that was thought to keep the election day turnout low, did not do so. A special election participation factor of more than 174,000 voters is a strong display for any district. In comparison, over 271,000 voted in the 2022 regular congressional election.

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Though the polling was predicting a close finish, all the pre-election indicators were pointing Suozzi’s way. The campaign resource imbalance favored the Democrats by almost a 4:1 margin when looking at the two individual campaign committee filings. Outside support for both candidates was closer to even. Clearly, as has been the case in special elections across the country, the Democratic ground game is superior to that of the Republicans.

This campaign could give us further clues into what issues are driving voters. With the southern border being front and center, but with both candidates largely taking the same side, Suozzi found himself protected from being put on the defensive. It is also possible that the issue is not a particular vote driver when located almost 2,000 miles away from the trouble spot regardless of how a related polling question might be answered.

George Santos, R-N.Y.

Abortion again proved a vote driver for Democrats, and we can anticipate seeing this theme used repeatedly around the country once more in 2024.

Another question soon to be answered is how this election result will affect the potential congressional redistricting that’s currently before a New York citizens’ commission. With the 3rd District snapping back to a regular performance — Suozzi was last reelected here in 2020 with 56% of the vote as compared to 54% last night — it may now be possible that the commissioners will not see the need to radically change the current court-drawn map.

Furthermore, this campaign reveals that the Democratic candidates are potentially not hampered by President Biden’s poor approval numbers. The Siena College poll, conducted for New York Newsday found Suozzi carrying a 48-44% favorable to unfavorable approval rating. This is contrasted to Biden’s approval rate that posted him to a poor 39-57% ratio, thus showing that the voters here did not project Biden’s ratings onto another Democratic candidate.

The 3rd District seat itself, despite George Santos’ win in 2022, is a Democratic domain. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+4; the Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians calculate a 56.4D-42.0R partisan lean, and the Daily Kos Elections site ranked NY-3 as the eighth most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.

Therefore, the anomaly here is not so much Suozzi reclaiming his seat last night, but rather that a Republican won the district in 2022.

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