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Republicans Left With Small Majority In The House After Democrats Take Back District Of Disgraced Former Congressman George Santos

This week (February 13) former congressman, Tom Suozzi, was elected to serve New York’s 3rd congressional district. This election followed the expulsion of George Santos from the House of Representatives in December of last year.

Tuesday’s election saw Suozzi win 91,338 votes (53.9%) whilst his Republican opponent, Mazi Pilip, received 78,229 votes (46.1%). Voter turnout was worsened by the storm covering New York in several inches of heavy snow.

Pilip was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to Israel with her family at age 12, where she eventually joined the Israel Defence League. The Republican politician now works in New York’s Nassau County Legislature.

Speaker Mike Johnson now has a narrowed majority of 219-213 in the House, which means to pass legislation, the Republicans can only afford to lose two votes if all are present and voting.

As only the sixth in history to be removed from the House of Representatives, the expulsion of former congressman George Santos, was significant. After criminal charges were brought against him and a damning ethics report, the House voted to expel Santos 311 to 114 (206 Democrats and 105 Republicans) on their third attempt.

The New York Times reported that he had lied about his career on Wall Street as well as his college degrees and Jewish ancestry. He has been accused of scamming Amish dog breeders and claiming his mother died in the 9/11 attacks.

In May of last year, Santos was charged with 23 felonies including wire fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds, all of which he denies. In November 2023, the House ethics committee found him to have exploited “every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit”.

The GOP’s narrowed House majority has received a mixed response from Republicans with some blaming George Santos and others criticising Pilip’s refusal to endorse Donald Trump.

Republican Rep. Troy Nehls from Texas called the decision to expel Santos as “a big mistake” and described the former congressman as “a solid vote for the conservative voice”. Republican Rep. Mark Alford from Missouri similarly highlighted, with reference to Santos’ departure, that “the repercussions could be greater than letting that person stay”.

Other Republicans have expressed satisfaction at Santos’ departure, with Rep. Marc Molinaro from New York calling him “a con man and a crook”. Molinaro added “perhaps George Santos being honest would have kept one more seat in Congress”.

Republican Rep. from Florida, Carlos Gimenez, said he has “absolutely no regrets” about his vote to expel Santos, adding that the party’s smaller majority in the House was “just the price you pay”.

New York’s 3rd congressional district supported Biden in 2020, but flipped to Republican during the 2022 midterms, so Suozzi’s election is crucial to predicting voting patterns ahead of the 2024 Election.

Edited by: Kaiyah Ellison

Photo credit: Getty Images

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