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Tags: george santos | election | congress | house | new york | kathy hochul

Special Election to Fill George Santos' Seat Is Feb. 13

Tuesday, 05 December 2023 09:55 PM EST

A special election to pick a successor to Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., who was expelled from the House last week, will be held Feb. 13, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday.

The race for a seat representing some Long Island suburbs and a small part of the New York City borough of Queens is expected to be a high-profile contest that will mark the start of a year of consequential congressional elections in the state.

For Democrats, the election will be a test of the party's ability to flip districts across New York City that are seen as vital to their plans to retake control of the House. Republicans enter the contest with heavy momentum on Long Island and will fight to hold on to the district as they look to maintain their narrow House majority.

Candidates in the special election will be picked by party leaders, not voters.

On the Republican side, potential names include retired police detective Mike Sapraicone, Air Force veteran Kellen Curry and Nassau County legislator Mazi Pilip, an Ethiopian-born Jewish woman who served in the Israeli military.

Sapraicone, who is also the founder of a private security company, said he has been interviewed by county Republicans who will select the nominee, with the panel quizzing him on his political stances, his ability to fundraise and quickly launch a campaign.

Former Rep. Tom Suozzi has emerged as the potential front-runner nominee for Democrats. Suozzi, 61, represented the district for six years before launching an unsuccessful campaign for governor last year, and previously held political posts as a county executive and mayor on Long Island.

The centrist Democrat's deep ties in Long Island politics might provide name recognition and the ability to quickly stand up a campaign — vital attributes in a narrowly focused election where voters will have a limited amount of time to pick their representative.

Suozzi had announced his campaign for the seat before Santos was expelled, and has been promoting a series of endorsements from local politicians and labor groups after the district became vacant.

Also vying for the Democratic nomination is former state Sen. Anna Kaplan, who in recent days took potshots at Suozzi's record and sought to center the special election on passing federal legislation guaranteeing abortion rights.

Like Suozzi, Sapraicone launched his campaign before Santos was expelled and has already begun to fundraise, with his campaign coffers including $300,000 of his own money, he said.

"For us to maintain the House and retain the majority is so important," Sapraicone said. "It’s so important that New York sets the tone here in February."

Democrats want to flip at least five House seats in New York next year, with the Santos seat being a potential early indicator of their chances in November's general election.

The party has dedicated significant financial and organizational resources to the state, after a series of losses last year in the New York City suburbs helped Republicans take control of the House and brought down heavy criticism on state Democrats.

President Joe Biden won the district in 2020, but Republicans have notched major electoral gains on Long Island in recent years as moderate suburban voters have gravitated toward the GOP.

In the latest sign of Republican strength on Long Island, the GOP won several local elections on the island last month, including races in the now-vacant district.

Santos was expelled from the House last week following a scandal-filled tenure in Congress and a looming criminal trial. He is only the sixth member in the chamber’s history to be ousted by colleagues.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

A special election to pick a successor to Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., who was expelled from the House last week, will be held Feb. 13, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday.
george santos, election, congress, house, new york, kathy hochul
Tuesday, 05 December 2023 09:55 PM
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