(The Center Square) – Democrat Tom Suozzi has won the special election for New York’s 3rd Congressional District, flipping the seat left by disgraced former U.S. Rep. George Santos.

Suozzi defeated Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip, with immigration on the minds of voters. Republicans’ majority in the House of Representatives shrank to 219-212.

The Long Island district had been reliable to Republicans, with 2021 through 2023 including GOP wins in four congressional seats, several local offices and the 2022 governor’s race.

Santos was a winner in 2022 by 8%.

Not so on a snowy Tuesday for Pilip. Suozzi won 53.9%-46.1% in an election with nearly 170,000 votes cast.

In his victory speech, Suozzi said, “The way to make our country a better place is to try and find common ground. It is not easy to do. It is hard to do.”

Suozzi was a member of Congress after winning in November 2016 until 2022 when he sought the governor’s seat. His run ended poorly in a gubernatorial primary, where now-Gov. Kathy Hochul (67.4%) dominated Jumaane Williams (19.3%) and Suozzi (13%).

Former President Donald Trump, in a social media post, called Pilip “a very foolish woman” for distancing herself from him.

Santos became the sixth lawmaker ever to be booted from the House, lasting just 11 months. He survived two previous expulsion votes led by fellow New York Republicans. However, in the third vote, 105 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats in the vote to remove Santos.

In November, a House Ethics subcommittee issued a scathing report that concluded Santos likely committed campaign fraud and other ethical violations. The panel said its investigation determined that there is “substantial evidence” that Santos filed “false or incomplete reports” with the Federal Election Commission, used campaign funds for personal purposes and engaged in fraudulent conduct in violation of House rules.

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