Written by Brandon Goldman
What’s happening: George Santos was expelled from Congress in December, and now the two candidates running for his seat are in a tight battle.
Why it matters: Republicans hold a slim majority in the House of Representatives, so every seat up for grabs is a must-win to retain control of the chamber.
Who’s running: The Democrat candidate, former Congressman Tom Suozzi, previously occupied the same seat he is currently seeking. Nassau County legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip is running on the Republican side. She was born in Ethiopia, served in the Israeli Defense Forces, and then immigrated to the United States.
- The numbers: A January poll indicated Suozzi is maintaining a three-point lead over his Republican opponent. However, Long Island is recently trending red, which leaves this race wide open.
Main focus: Republicans believe Pilip’s background will sway pro-Israel voters who have been disappointed by the progressive Democrat faction sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Still, her campaign is focused on the migrant crisis over the Israel-Hamas war.
- Democrats: Suozzi is heavily relying on abortion messaging, which is also the Biden campaign's top strategy for the general election.
Big picture: The special election next week will be the first contest of the 2024 election cycle. It’s an opportunity for both parties to test out their messaging and tactics ahead of the general election.