Democrat Tom Suozzi faces Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip in the Feb....

Democrat Tom Suozzi faces Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip in the Feb. 13 special election for New York's 3rd Congressional District. Credit: Craig Ruttle/Howard Schnapp

The candidates in New York’s 3rd Congressional District special election have raised more than $6 million in two months, with Democrat Tom Suozzi outpacing Republican-backed Mazi Melesa Pilip by a 3-to-1 margin.

Reports filed late Thursday by Suozzi, the former 3rd District congressman, and Pilip, a Nassau County legislator, provides the only full overview of their campaign finances before the Feb. 13 opening of polls. Early voting starts Saturday .

Suozzi raised $4.5 million through Jan. 24, according to the report filed by his campaign to the Federal Election Commission disclosures.

Most of that came after the 3rd District seat opened after the Dec. 1 expulsion of former GOP Rep. George Santos after release of a report by the House Ethics Committee accusing him of defrauding campaign donors for his personal profit.

Suozzi, who represented the 3rd District from 2017 to 2022, had taken in an additional $268,000 through Tuesday, according to filings that must be updated within 24 or 48 hours of receipt of contributions.

Pilip reported raising $1.3 million through Jan. 24, according to the FEC reports.

Including contributions that have come in since Jan. 24, the two candidates have raised nearly $6.3 million in barely eight weeks, reflecting the race's expected impact on the balance of power in the House. Republicans control the House with one of the slimmest margins in recent history.

“The money pouring in reflects a nationalized election,” Raymond La Raja, a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, told Newsday in an email. “This seat is incredibly important to both parties in a Congress where the Republican majority is so thin.”

Suozzi, 61, of Glen Cove, also spent significantly more than Pilip through Jan. 24, the FEC reports show. His committee reported more than $2.3 million in expenses, compared with about $714,000 for Pilip, a 44-year-old Great Neck resident.

As of Jan. 24, Suozzi’s campaign had $2.2 million on hand. Pilip’s had $629,000.

The money in the Suozzi and Pilip war chests is only a fraction of what has poured into the race.

Democratic and Republican Super PACs had spent a total of $8.7 million through Thursday, according to FEC independent expenditure reports that also must be filed within 24 or 48 hours.

The vast majority of that outside cash has come from Democratic-aligned groups for TV ads attacking Pilip.

Republican groups, however, have stepped up their ad buys in recent weeks.

Both sides are attempting to paint the opposing candidates as members of the “extreme” wings of their parties on hot-button issues such as abortion and immigration, although Pilip and Suozzi themselves tend to take more moderate positions.

Pilip spokesman Brian Devine said in a statement Friday that “no amount of money raised by Tom Suozzi and his extremist supporters can erase his record of failing to secure the border, massive tax hikes and supporting Joe Biden’s agenda 100 percent of the time.”

Kim Devlin, a senior adviser to Suozzi's campaign, said: “Mazi Pilip is unvetted, untested, unprepared. Her campaign is fully run by Washington Republican bosses.”

Pilip’s leading contributors were the Republican Jewish Coalition PAC, at $43,275, and the bipartisan pro-Israel NORPAC, at $40,422.

More than a dozen individuals contributed at least $6,600 to her campaign. They include former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, a lobbyist and a top Nassau Republican; Robert McBride, who worked with D’Amato and runs his own consulting firm; and several couples who together gave more than $13,000, notably California real estate developer Allen Alevy and his wife, Deanna, who run a foundation supporting Jewish families.

Race car legend Mario Andretti also gave Pilip's campaign $495, records show.

Large Suozzi donors include political action committees representing various trades and labor unions. They include the American Federation of Teachers; the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education; the National Air Traffic Controllers Association; and the National Association of Letter Carriers.

NORPAC, which backs pro-Israel members of Congress, gave Suozzi $20,515.

Former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, of Locust Valley, contributed $5,000. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave $6,000 from her campaign fund. Actor Jon Cryer, of the “Two and a Half Men” sitcom gave $5,000 to the Suozzi campaign.

LaRaja, also co-director of the UMass Poll, said the Santos factor is likely bringing the election more attention and funds.

“Not only is it special in the sense that it takes place off cycle when there are no other contests going on, it is a chance for the people of the 3rd District to put someone in that seat who doesn't embarrass them,” he said.

Big money in a short time 

Tom Suozzi: $4.8 million raised.*

Mazi Pilip: $1.5 million raised.*

*through Jan. 24

Money from outside political groups: $8.7 million through Feb. 1.

Source: Federal Election Commission

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