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New York special election to fill Santos' seat seen as bellwether for November 2024

Republicans are hoping to retain the seat, given their slim 219-212 majority in the House that resulted in a failed vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week

Published: February 12, 2024 11:00pm

Tuesday's special election for the House seat formerly occupied by former Rep. George Santos’s, R-N.Y., could be a bellwether for how November 2024 will play out, as President Biden grapples with low job approval numbers and the Democratic candidate attempts to distance himself from the incumbent president.  

A recent Rasmussen Reports poll found Biden's approval rating to be at 42%. According to the results of another survey conducted in early February, Biden's job approval is just 38%.

Prior to Santos, the seat was last occupied by former Rep. Tom Suozzi, who decided not to seek re-election in 2022. Suozzi, who is running again for the seat, has focused on protecting abortion rights as a central issue in his campaign. Republican Mazi Pilip, Suozzi's opponent, has made border security, immigration, and fighting rising crime key issues in her campaign. 

In the homestretch of the race, Suozzi has appeared to make an effort to distance himself from Biden.

During an interview on the "Good Day New York" television program, Suozzi said Biden is old and while he's "likely to support him" as the Democratic presidential nominee, "we’ve got to see what happens."

“There’s all kinds of debate as to whether or not he’s going to stick it out or not,” Suozzi said, addressing the chances of Biden stepping aside as a Democratic candidate for president in 2024. “I don’t have any inside scoop or anything like that, but, you know, let’s see what happens between now and the Democratic convention.”

Republicans are hoping to retain the vacant House seat after Santos' expulsion, given their slim 219-212 majority in the chamber. Democrats are looking to flip the seat back to the Democrat column to give them one more vote to counter Republican-backed legislation.

The House Republican effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the border last week failed by a single vote. Republicans only had 215 "yes" votes in favor of the resolution compared to 215 "no" votes from Democrats, forcing one GOP member to change his vote and defeat the bill so it could be reconsidered again for another vote in the near future.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., had missed the vote reportedly due to cancer treatment. Scalise is supposed to return to Capitol Hill for votes this week. Following the vote, Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., told Just the News that the impeachment resolution would be brought up for a vote again sometime this week.

“There will be a trial,” Clyde said.

The episode prompted Santos to write, "Miss me yet?" on his X account alongside a photo showing the 215-215 vote tally. According to a recent Newsday/Siena College poll, Suozzi has a 4-point lead over Pilip, which is within the margin of error.

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