Who’s running for George Santos’ seat? What to know about Pilip and Suozzi, candidates in N.Y. House election

NEW YORK — The special election between Tom Suozzi and Mazi Pilip to replace former Congressman George Santos wraps up Tuesday on Long Island.

Early voting started on Feb. 3, and polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day. 

New York’s 3rd District has been without representation in Washington, D.C. since Santos was expelled nearly two months ago.

Now, it’s time to elect his successor. Here’s what to know about the race to fill his seat.

When & where to vote

When? Early Voting began on Feb. 3 and ended Feb. 11. Polls will open at 6 a.m. on Election Day, Feb. 13 and close at 9 p.m.

Where? Voters can find their polling location and check their registration status by clicking here.

Why is there a special election?

Former Rep. George Santos was expelled from Congress in December, prompting a special election to fill his District 3 seat, which represents parts of Queens and Nassau County. 

Santos’ expulsion came after the House Ethics Committee released a report that found “substantial evidence” that he violated federal law and engaged in a “complex web” of illegal activity involving his finances.

According to the report, he allegedly used campaign donations to pay for Botox, resorts in Atlantic City, purchases from OnlyFans, Hermès and more.

In a third and final attempt to expel him, the House voted 311 to 114.

How it works

Gov. Kathy Hochul set the special election for Tuesday, Feb. 13

There is no primary in a special election. Democrats and Republicans each picked a candidate, who now face off head-to-head.

The winner of the special election will serve out the remainder of Santos’ two-year term and would need to run again next November for a full term.

It’s worth noting the 3rd District has been redrawn and changed significantly since Santos was elected in 2022. It now includes Republican strongholds, like Levittown and Massapequa.   

Who is running? Mazi Pilip (R)

New York Republicans put forth Mazi Pilip, a relative newcomer to politics and first-term Nassau County legislator. 

As an Ethiopian Jew, Pilip immigrated to Israel at age 12, later enlisted in Israeli Defense Forces, and then came to America after earning two college degrees. She has dual Israeli-American citizenship, along with degrees from both Haifa and Tel Aviv universities. 


Republican Mazi Pilip running to replace expelled congressman George Santos

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When she first arrived in the U.S., she was a registered Democrat. Now, she tells CBS New York’s Jennifer McLogan her view align with the Republican party — law enforcement, the economy and securing the border.

“As an immigrant, although I support immigration and I want immigrants to live the American dream, it has to be done correctly,” Pilip said.

She says she believes in the right to bear arms, but not automatic assault weapons. As for abortion, Pilip said, “Abortion is a very personal decision. I would never force my own belief to any woman, therefore I’m not going to support a national abortion ban.”

She is also full-throated in her support for Israel in the war against Hamas.

“They are the ones who started the war. War is ugly and unfortunate, but we need to support our allied nation, which is Israel,” she said.

Pilip is married to a Ukrainian-born American medical doctor, and they have seven children.

Who is running? Tom Suozzi (D)

Meanwhile, the Democrats named former Rep. Tom Suozzi their candidate to fill the seat. He challenged Hochul for governor in 2022 and now wants his old job back.

In a sit-down interview, Suozzi told CBS New York’s Carolyn Gusoff his motto is, “Let’s Fix This.”


NY-03 candidate Tom Suozzi vows to work with Republicans if elected

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“Everybody is sick and tired of everybody just attacking each other. You can’t solve a complicated problem in an environment of fear and anger with everybody just yelling at each other. You have to try and sit down, even if you disagree with people, and find common ground,” Suozzi said.

Suozzi has been the mayor of Glen Cove, and then county executive. He was elected to three terms in Congress, served as vice chair of the Problem Solver Caucus, and led the charge to restore the SALT deduction.

He says he is a moderate who offers concrete ideas and works across party lines. He’s also pro-reproductive rights and common sense gun safety.

“Pro-finding solutions, stand up to the far left of my own party, and stand up to the far right of the other party,” he told Gusoff. 

Suozzi is a married father of three, and one son plays in the New York Mets’ minor league system.

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