The Democratic nominee for the special election to replace ousted GOP Rep. George Santos of New York is expressing concern about his chances of winning the swing seat in a district where immigration is top of mind to voters, CNN reported Monday.
Former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi is running against GOP nominee Mazi Melesa Pilip to fill the vacant Long Island seat on Feb. 13 after Santos was expelled in early December over allegations of fraud. Suozzi told CNN that Democrats are “in trouble” in the 3rd congressional district, where President Joe Biden won by eight points in 2020.
“It’s a very tough seat,” Suozzi told CNN. “Democrats have been losing everything on Long Island and northeast Queens for the past three years. The Democratic brand is in trouble here, and we have to do a lot to overcome that.”
Democrats are outspending Republicans by nearly three times on advertising for the seat at $8.9 million to $3.3 million in dedicated reservations, respectively, Politico reported on Jan. 25 citing data from AdImpact.
Republican ads have largely targeted Suozzi over immigration, which an Emerson College survey released Jan. 18 suggested was voters’ top concern ahead of the special election.
Pilip served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and later immigrated to the U.S., according to her campaign website.
Suozzi had been representing the district in Congress until 2022 when he made an unsuccessful run for governor. Santos went on to secure the seat in the midterms by nearly eight points.
The former congressman is leading Pilip 45% to 42% among registered voters for the special election in the Emerson College survey, but held a 14-point lead among those who were “very likely” to take to the polls.
The Cook Political Report characterizes the seat as in the “Toss Up” category for 2024.
Neither Suozzi’s campaign nor the DCCC immediately responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.