Biden-district Republicans shrug off New York special election loss

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Vulnerable Republicans are downplaying the implications of Democrats’ House special election victory this week, despite the fact that it occurred in a district that typically mirrors the national environment, claiming that the outcome was the result of unique circumstances and not a foreshadowing of what to expect this fall.
Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, won a suburban New York seat that President Joe Biden held in 2020 but lost to former Republican Rep. George Santos in 2022. However, while the Democratic Party sees it as a foreshadowing of the impending fight for House control, a quartet of other Republicans in districts Biden won told NBC News they are not concerned about facing the same fate in their re-election campaigns.
Suozzi’s “profile is similar to mine, on the other side.” He understands how to reach in the middle. Sometimes he criticizes his own party. “He’s willing to take on some of his own guys, and I believe middle-of-the-road voters respond to that,” said Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., a major Democratic target who represents an Omaha-based swing district.

“I have a similar profile in my own district where I’m my own guy,” he remarked. “And I believe Tom Suozzi is a formidable candidate. That is the bottom line. That’s probably the most important thing.”

Bacon and other Republicans argue that Suozzi, a former congressman for six years who retired in 2022 to run for governor, benefited from high name recognition, cash advantages, and a snowstorm on Election Day, which reduced turnout.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., a rookie who represents a neighboring Long Island district that also voted for Biden in 2020, called Republican Mazi Pilip’s loss “disappointing,” but promised that the party will “be back” in November.

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Biden-district Republicans shrug off New York special election loss

“This is an exercise in early voting for Republicans, so embrace it. Obviously, from the moment the polls opened until lunchtime, there was significant snow in several of our Republican strongholds, which likely kept some of our seniors, on whom we rely for a few thousand votes, at home,” D’Esposito stated.
“After being involved in politics for much of my life, Tom Suozzi’s name was well-known. And I believe that both sides of the political spectrum are concerned that Washington is currently unstable. And I believe that is our role,” he stated. “One of the things I’ve been focusing on since I arrived here is ensuring that you have your boots on the ground, your ear to the ground, and that you’re delivering and speaking for the folks back home. And that is one of the most significant things for me.”

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., a major Democratic target who represents a Hudson Valley district, said Suozzi won because he “ran a strong campaign” and “was a de facto incumbent.”

Lawler said that Suozzi “ran to the right on immigration.”

“So, congratulations to him. “He ran a good race,” Lawler stated. “But, in the end of the day, Biden won this district by eight points. George Santos was clearly a blemish on the race. Fortunately, we can now move forward from George Santos.”

Lawler stated that, despite protests from inside his party, he has no remorse for voting to remove Santos, the indicted half-term lawmaker, “because I actually have ethical standards.”

Polls reveal another reason to be cautious that the outcome will be replicated in November: Democrats are currently stronger among highly committed voters who turn out in special elections.

Republicans, meanwhile, are doing better with low-propensity voters, who tend to stay home in off-year contests but turn out for presidential elections, according to polls.

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Biden-district Republicans shrug off New York special election loss

Another Republican in a competitive district stated that the lessons learned from the special election are limited to the district.

“It’s a reflection of New York’s 3rd District on Feb. 13,” said Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. “This is a snapshot. They had two viable candidates running. Tom is a good dude. He’s a friend of mine, and he understands the work. “He has been here before.”

When asked about Suozzi’s plan to go on offensive with border security, Fitzpatrick stated he and Suozzi have “traveled to the border together,” and “I look forward to working with him on that.”


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