New York Flips Vacated Santos Seat to Blue

( – The Republican Party’s narrow House majority is now even smaller after a special election flipped a seat. New York electors just went to the polls to choose a replacement for George Santos, who was forced out of Congress last year following a scandal about his criminal record and dishonest resume. In a blow to the GOP, they chose a Democrat, turning the seat –- which Santos had won for the Republicans for the first time since 2010 –- blue again.

On December 1, 2023, Representative George Santos (R-NY) was expelled from the House, leaving his seat vacant. The 311-114 expulsion vote, with 105 Republicans joining most Democrats in voting for his removal, ended a long-running saga of investigations into Santos’s campaign financing, criminal record — he has multiple open indictments against him in both the US and Brazil — and false claims he made in his official biography. With Santos gone, his district needed a new representative, and a special election was set for February 13.

The new congressman for Santos’s former district is Representative Tom Suozzi (D-NY), who previously represented the district from 2017 to 2023. With most votes counted, Suozzi, who ran a moderate center-left campaign, had 54%; his Republican rival, former Israeli paratrooper Mazi Pilip, was trailing at 46% and had no chance of making up the numbers.

Republican recriminations have already begun. On February 14, Representative Mike Collins (R-GA) posted on X (formerly Twitter) “So who still thinks Republicans helping Democrats kick out Santos was a good idea?”

While the election is bad news for the GOP overall, it could be a boost for presidential candidate Donald Trump. Santos was a strong supporter of the former president and managed to win the seat in 2022 despite it having been solidly blue since the 2012 election. On the other hand, Pilip had refused to endorse Trump’s 2024 campaign, prompting him to call her a “very foolish woman” — and she wasn’t able to hold on to the swing voters a Trump loyalist like Santos had brought to the Republican Party.

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