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  /  News   /  Race to succeed George Santos could impact who controls the House

Race to succeed George Santos could impact who controls the House

NEW YORK (NewsNation) — An unusual special election Tuesday in New York could be a bellwether in the fight for control of Congress.

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, faces off against Republican Nassau County legislator Mazi Pilip in a race for a House seat that became vacant when Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y, was expelled from Congress.

Significant snowfall is anticipated in the area, potentially discouraging some voters from braving the conditions to make it to the polls. Turnout will be crucial for candidates given the tight race.

Meanwhile, the special election is garnering national attention because the outcome could play a pivotal role in determining control of the House after the November election.

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Currently, Republicans hold a narrow 219 to 212 majority in the House, with four vacancies, three of which were previously occupied by Republicans. The narrow split has already hampered the Republican agenda in the House.

Earlier this month, Republicans failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by just two votes over his handling of the immigration crisis at the southern border. Three Republicans sided with Democrats on the vote.

Additionally, the special election serves as a testing ground for both parties.

The migrant crisis in New York has led to people blaming Democrats for insufficient action to sub the influx.

Republicans aim to capitalize on voter discontent, potentially utilizing the issue nationally if successful in New York, while Democrats are hoping to use abortion rights and a strong economy to motivate voters to support Suozzi.

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Both candidates sat down with NewsNation affiliate WPIX for extended interviews on these issues.

“As a woman, I think abortion is a personal decision, is a personal choice. Every woman should make that decision,” Pilip said.

“We need strong outspoken pro-Israel Democrats like myself who will stand up to the far left that are trying to undermine our relationship with Israel,” Suozzi said.

Both parties acknowledge the importance of the suburban vote to win, consisting primarily of educated people, working individuals deeply concerned about their family’s financial security, personal safety, and the looming migrant crisis impacting their community.

Santos represented New York’s 3rd Congressional District for not even a full term after being elected in November 2022. He was expelled from the House in December 2023 following a scandal-plagued tenure in Congress and a looming criminal trial. He is only the sixth member in the chamber’s history to be ousted by colleagues.