Republicans face a test in the upcoming New York race to replace George Santos as they aim to maintain control of the House in November

In a conversation with Fox News Digital, Naysa Woomer, a GOP strategist with experience working for expelled Rep. George Santos and former Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration, discussed the special election taking place in New York’s 3rd Congressional district.

Early voting for a suburban New York election, which has attracted significant financial investments from both Democrats and Republicans, begins on Saturday.

The upcoming election to fill the vacant seat of ousted Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., in New York’s 3rd Congressional District is attracting significant attention. Many view this race as a crucial indicator of the Republican Party’s prospects in retaining control of the House of Representatives in the upcoming year.

The race is heating up between Mazi Melesa Pilip, a Republican and Nassau County official, and former Democratic Representative Tom Suozzi. Suozzi stepped down from his seat at the end of 2022 after an unsuccessful attempt to challenge Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul in the primary.

“I believe that at this point, anyone has a chance to win,” expressed Naysa Woomer, who previously served as Santos’ communications director and worked as an aide for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “Although Tom Suozzi had previously represented NY-3 for a significant period, this election is a fresh start, particularly with Mazi Pilip being a local legislator. I think her familiarity within the community could provide her with a significant advantage, as she already has name recognition on a local level.”

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NY Republicans have chosen an IDF veteran as a replacement for Santos in the upcoming special election.

National Republicans and Democrats have their eyes on the highly competitive race between Mazi Melesa Pilip, a Nassau official, and former Representative Tom Suozzi. (Getty Images)

The upcoming race will serve as a trial for House Republicans to see if they can overcome a tumultuous term marked by a narrow but deeply divided majority. Democrats at the national level have capitalized on the dysfunction, while Republicans have focused on pressing concerns such as the escalating cost of living and the border crisis, which polls indicate are of utmost importance to voters.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Pilip expressed her belief that her race, if she emerges victorious, could serve as a blueprint for Republicans aiming to maintain control of the House.

“This special election holds immense significance as it provides us with a glimpse into the upcoming November 2024 election. Its importance lies in safeguarding our country and championing sensible governance,” emphasized Pilip. “Losing this election is not an option.”

Long Island Rep. Nick LaLota, a prominent supporter of Pilip in Congress, expressed his unwavering confidence in the Republican party’s ability to retain the seat.

George Santos is currently engaged in discussions for a potential plea deal.

According to LaLota, there are four key factors to winning the election in NY-3: message, money, manpower, and Mazi. He believes that their stance on border security sets them apart, as Republicans have practical solutions to address the issue. Additionally, their economic policies offer the right solutions to the challenges faced by the residents of Long Island and Queens, particularly when it comes to inflation.

A Democratic operative familiar with the race suggested that Suozzi would have an advantage over his opponents due to his focus on local issues. This is especially important to voters who are tired of the scandals and misconduct seen in the House GOP majority. One such example is the expulsion of Santos, who faced federal charges and a damning Ethics Committee report for misusing funds.

Rep. Nick Lalota, R-N.Y., supports Pilip. (Getty Images)

“We find ourselves in a unique situation with this special election as the Republican Party has consistently shielded George Santos,” emphasized Ellie Dougherty, the spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), in conversation with Fox News Digital. She pointed out that despite some members within their ranks calling for his removal, House GOP leaders have remained silent on the matter.

LaLota firmly refuted any claims that Santos would serve as an anchor for Republicans.

“George Santos is widely regarded as a knucklehead, a sentiment shared by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. We don’t shy away from acknowledging this reality,” stated LaLota. “We have been completely transparent and forthcoming about it, and because Long Island Republicans have taken the lead in ousting him, I believe we have gained significant credibility with the voters.”

The Democratic operative aims to convey the message in the final stretch by emphasizing Suozzi’s extensive political experience and ability to work across party lines. They plan to highlight Pilip’s lack of experience and lack of vetting, in an effort to associate her with Santos.

Pilip, however, dismissed these accusations on Friday during an interview with Fox News Digital. She emphasized that her background had undergone thorough scrutiny following the Santos incident. Furthermore, she expressed immense pride in her identity as an Israeli-American immigrant and her service as a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force.

She further accused Suozzi of being a “career politician,” portraying himself as a moderate while consistently supporting progressive policies during his time in the House.

Republicans are attempting to associate Suozzi with progressives and President Biden. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Pilip, although he may have name recognition, people primarily remember him for his negative policies.

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According to the DCCC, Pilip lacks substance when it comes to addressing important issues that concern voters. Even on subjects like immigration and border security, she simply regurgitates talking points provided by her extreme Republican Party leaders. On the other hand, Tom Suozzi has a proven track record of collaborating with anyone to effectively serve the needs of Nassau County and Queens.

According to a spokeswoman from the National Republican Congressional Committee, the race is centered around the issue of the migrant crisis in New York. She claims that both Tom Suozzi and Joe Biden are responsible for causing this crisis, and voters are fed up with the consequences. The spokeswoman believes that Mazi Pilip is a strong candidate who will confront Biden and put an end to the influx of illegal migrants into New York.

Despite multiple attempts, Fox News Digital was unable to reach Suozzi’s campaign for comment.

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