Tom Suozzi: Democrats win special election to replace George Santos

  • By Kayla Epstein
  • BBC News, New York

Democrats are celebrating their victory in a special election for a seat left vacant when Republican Jorge Santos was kicked out of Congress.

Tom Suozzi's victory over Mazi Pilip on Tuesday night shaved off an already slim Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

Democrats said the result showed they could take the fight to Republicans on the hot-button issue of immigration.

Mr Santos was sacked last December amid allegations of fraud and corruption.

With most votes counted, Mr Suu Kyi had 54% of the vote, while Ms Philip had 46%, according to the BBC's US partner CBS News.

Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in the Third Congressional District, which stretches from downtown Queens, New York, to the western suburbs of Long Island.

Mr Susi, who ran as a moderate, will serve out Mr Santos' term before running again this November.

In a victory speech that was briefly interrupted by protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, Mr Suu Kyi spoke of healing political differences.

He also took a swipe at Republicans who control the House: “Let's send a message to our friends who run Congress these days: Stop running for Trump, start running the country.”

Ms Philip distanced herself from much of Mr Trump's campaign, and the former president called her “a very stupid woman” in a post on Truth Social on Tuesday night because she did not support him.

When that effort failed, voters replaced him with Mr Santos in Congress.

M.S. Philip, a state legislator who doesn't have as much name recognition as his rival, made immigration central to his campaign.

He blamed Mr Suzy and his fellow Democrats for the influx of migrants to New York City and the escalating crisis at the southern border.

But Mr Suu Kyi stressed the need to strengthen border policy, saying he sometimes crossed his own party on the issue while in Congress.

Democrats said the race could set a roadmap for the U.S. general election in November.

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut posted on X: “Like Suosi, Democrats can and should commit crimes at the border. Everywhere.”

It collapsed after Mr Trump and his allies denounced the bipartisan Senate border security bill as inadequate.

Ms. Philip, an Ethiopian-Israeli immigrant and observant Jew, gave her unwavering support for Israel in a district with a large share of Jewish voters.

But Mr Suu Kyi has declared himself a staunch ally of Israel, arguing that he will balance left-wing Democrats who want to cut US aid to Israel.

Mr Susi hit out at the abortion issue, while mother-of-seven Ms Philip said she was personally against terminating pregnancies but would not force her beliefs on others.

The result reduces the Republican majority to 219-213. Three seats — one of which is vacant — were held by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy until his resignation in December.

image caption,

Jorge Santos was expelled from Congress in December

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