In a recent development, a group of Republicans hailing from Queens and Nassau counties in New York have put forth Mazi Melesa Pilip, a registered Democrat, as their nominee to succeed former Representative George Santos in the House. The upcoming special election, scheduled for February, will determine the occupant of the vacant seat in New York’s 3rd congressional district, encompassing portions of Nassau County, Long Island, and sections of Queens. George Santos, the previous officeholder, secured the seat in the 2022 midterms but faced expulsion on December 1 following an inquiry by the House Ethics Committee that uncovered “substantial” evidence of federal criminal law violations.
The committee’s investigation disclosed instances where Santos misappropriated campaign funds for personal use, engaged in “fraudulent conduct,” and submitted “false or incomplete reports” to the Federal Election Commission during his electoral campaign. Nassau County Republican Chairman Joseph G. Cairo Jr. assured a meticulous vetting process for Pilip by local Republicans, aiming to avert any recurrence of political turmoil.
Pilip, a 44-year-old mother of seven and incumbent Nassau County legislator, boasts a unique political history, having contested and won two local elections as a Republican despite her Democratic registration. Supporters of Pilip acknowledged her party affiliation but deemed it “irrelevant” in light of her qualifications.
While Pilip’s stance on prominent issues such as abortion, LGBTQ+ policy, and gun laws remains uncertain due to her localized legislative focus, she has voiced criticisms of President Joe Biden’s foreign and domestic policies, particularly highlighting concerns about inflation’s impact on average Americans. Her views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reflect a strong critique of Biden’s handling, characterizing his policies as a “complete disaster for the American people.”
Notably, Pilip has a distinctive connection to Israel, having been born in Ethiopia and subsequently seeking refuge in Israel during her childhood. Her service as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces further adds to her background. In her inaugural run for Nassau County office in 2021, Pilip pledged to combat antisemitism.
Acknowledging the challenges ahead, Pilip will face Democratic contender Tom Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive and previous occupant of the now-vacant House seat. The upcoming electoral battle is poised to be a closely watched contest between the two candidates.