Democrats Flip George Santos’ Old Seat, Cutting Into Republicans’ Slim House Majority

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 16: Tom Suozzi (D-NY) (Photo by Craig Ruttle-Pool/Getty Images)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Tom Suozzi, a former congressman and Democrat, has won the New York special election for the seat left vacant when the House expelled George Santos in December. 

The Associated Press called his win, in the district Santos won by eight points in 2022, an hour after polls closed. His victory will afford Democrats a sigh of relief on multiple fronts. 

New York’s third district, which includes part of Long Island’s North Shore and extends into Queens, is one of the suburban districts that Joe Biden won in 2020, but that flipped Republican in 2022. It’s a swing area that the President likely has to win this time if he’s to return to the White House. It’s also among the handful of New York seats House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) quipped are just Republican “rentals,” emphasizing Democrats’ need to win them back to secure the majority.

And it gives them an edge in the short term too. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has struggled to lead his 219-212 House majority (with four, about to be three, vacancies), the slim margin giving his government-breaking right flank disproportionate power and making absences legislatively fatal. The first vote to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas last week, for example, failed by one vote (and the second, on Tuesday, only passed by one). 

Those margins will only matter more in the next couple months, when Congress is faced with government funding deadlines it can’t duck with continuing resolutions (resolutions which, themselves, proved extremely difficult for Johnson to shepherd through). Due to provisions written into the Joe Biden-Kevin McCarthy debt ceiling deal, the entire budget will be slashed to 2023 levels minus one percent if Congress has failed to pass an appropriations package by April 30, or has a continuing resolution in place for any part of the government instead. This across-the-board cut, known as sequestration, includes the Defense Department, which Republicans have historically been adamant about funding generously.

With Suozzi, a dependable Democratic vote, Johnson will have even less room to maneuver and less leeway to pass bills without significant Democratic support — the downfall of his predecessor.

Given the relatively high stakes for just one seat with less than a year left on its term, outside money poured in, Democrats outspending Republicans by $13.8 million to $8.1. Suozzi ran as a Republican-lite on the border, and pounded Republican Mazi Pilip, a Nassau County legislator, on abortion and guns. A dramatic snowstorm on Election Day may have also boosted his chances, as Democrats banked more of the early vote. 

The contours of the district may be even more short-lived than its current term. The New York maps, embroiled in near-constant litigation of late, are being redrawn again with a potential bipartisan compromise in sight. Such a deal would reduce the bounty Democrats could extract from a maximal gerrymander in one of the few states they can use to combat Republican map-rigging in many of the states they control. But given the backfiring of New York Democrats’ last attempt at an aggressive gerrymander, they may be more inclined to take the lesser win.

Latest News

Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for grack grack says:

    Leaving George Santos more time to spend with his next grift.

  2. “This across-the-board cut, known as sequestration, includes the Defense Department, which Republicans have historically been adamant about funding generously.”

    Gonna go way out on a limb here and speculate that the party of “Putin can do whatever the hell he wants” may be changing its views on that one.

  3. Now, to be clear, Suozzi is NOT another alias for Santos, right?

  4. I think George is very busy with his lawyers.
    As you know, sometimes rekindling older friendships has to wait.

  5. Then Santos will realize that the real treasure was the people he grifted along the way.

Continue the discussion at

149 more replies


Avatar for dr_coyote Avatar for josephebacon Avatar for eldonlazar Avatar for eggrollian Avatar for becca656 Avatar for ralph_vonholst Avatar for stradivarius50t3 Avatar for alyoshakaramazov1 Avatar for ronbyers Avatar for mrf Avatar for jinnj Avatar for jonney_5 Avatar for 21zna9 Avatar for morrigan_2575 Avatar for jtx Avatar for noonm Avatar for brian512 Avatar for yiprock Avatar for bcgister Avatar for dicktater Avatar for powwow Avatar for mrbill30560 Avatar for communistagronomist Avatar for nydan516

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: