The special election on New York’s Long Island Tuesday (February 13) caused by the expulsion of now ex-Rep. George Santos (R), a child of immigrants, is between a double immigrant (R) and the son of an immigrant (D).
Santos was thrown out of the House by a bipartisan vote for his endless lies and multiple financial shenanigans; though he had claimed that his parents had fled Europe because of the Holocaust and that he was “Jew-ish”, neither of those statements is true. His parents came from Brazil.
The contestants Tuesday in New York’s Third Congressional District include the Republican candidate who moved from Ethiopia as a young person to Israel, where she served in the Defense Forces; later she migrated to Long Island, secured U.S. citizenship (her third), and was elected (twice) to the Nassau County Legislature.
Mazi Melesa Pilip, were she to win, would probably be the only member of our House to have served in a foreign military, and would add a lot of diversity to the GOP caucus. She would be the only Black, Jewish female among the House Republicans, who are overwhelmingly white, Christian, and male.
It was gutsy of the New York Republicans to nominate a candidate with these credentials. She is also a registered Democrat, though she sits with the Republicans in the county legislature.
Her opponent, who once held the seat, is Tom Suozzi; he has a more traditional background. His father, a native of Italy, was a long-time mayor of Glen Cove, N.Y., a town within the district. Suozzi, a Democrat, was also Glen Cove’s mayor before he was elected to the U.S. House. He gave up that seat in 2022 when he sought, unsuccessfully, to get his party’s nomination for governor.
Neither candidate was nominated in a primary, as the N.Y. Democrats wanted an election as soon as possible because of the narrow GOP margin in the House. Both candidates were selected by party leadership.
Speaking of diversity, the only member of that body to be born in Ukraine, ever, who was thought to be leaving the House at the end of the year, has changed her mind and will be seeking re-election. She is Republican Victoria Spartz of Indiana, who is a member of the House immigration subcommittee.
And speaking of that subcommittee, two of its members, Chairman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.), provided two of the three GOP votes that saved Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas from being impeached. The third vote came from Mike Gallagher (R Wisc.) who, like Buck, is not seeking re-election.