Mazi Melesa Pilip, left, the Republican candidate in the Feb....

Mazi Melesa Pilip, left, the Republican candidate in the Feb. 13 special election in the 3rd Congressional District, speaks during a Republican meeting at the American Legion in Whitestone. Tom Suozzi, the Democratic candidate, speaks to the Lakeville Estates Civic Association of New Hyde Park. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Voters in New York's 3rd Congressional District head to the polls Tuesday for a special election, in which Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican nominee Mazi Melesa Pilip are locked in a tight race with national implications.

Suozzi, a former 3rd District representative, and Pilip, a Nassau County legislator, are vying to fill the balance of former GOP Rep. George Santos’ term. The House expelled Santos, who has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges, on Dec. 1.

Turnout could be impacted by a winter storm that is expected to bring snow to the region beginning about 4 a.m. Tuesday and continuing until the early afternoon. Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

With Republicans controlling the House by a slim margin — the GOP can afford only three defectors in a party-line vote — the campaigns and outside groups have spent more than $20 million to influence the special election.

New York’s 3rd District includes parts of Queens and Nassau’s North Shore, and dips south into Levittown and Massapequa.

Early voting ran nine for days, from Feb. 3 through 11.

“It's Santos' old district — that in and of itself is going to bring a lot of attention to the race,” said Jacob Neiheisel, an associate professor of political science at the University at Buffalo.

The 3rd District is a “moderate, purplish” district, and the candidates have focused on national issues, such as the migrant crisis, and expressed strong support for Israel in its war with Hamas.

“It really brings to the fore a lot simmering issues that have a broader national stage,” Neiheisel said.

More than 57,000 voters cast ballots in Nassau County during the early voting period, according to the Nassau County Board of Elections. Of the total, 42% were Democrats, 34% were Republicans and 20% were unaffiliated with a major party.

About 25% of 3rd District voters live in Queens, but early voting figures weren't available immediately from the New York City Board of Elections.

With the seat so important to the House’s balance of power, outside spending in the race has been relentless. Democratic and Republican aligned super PACs had spent more than $16 million through last Thursday, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The bulk of that spending has come from Democrat-aligned groups for television ads attacking Pilip or in support of Suozzi. The Democratic House Majority PAC has spent $7 million of the total, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee another $3 million.

Three GOP-backed groups, the National Republican Congressional Committee, Congressional Leadership Fund and the Secure New York State PAC, have spent a total $3 million on ads attacking Suozzi, FEC records show.

The Suozzi and Pilip campaigns have raised a total of more than $6 million, and spent more than $3 million. Suozzi has outpaced Pilip in direct fundraising and spending by roughly a 2-1 margin, according to FEC filings.

Polls forecast a tight race. A Newsday/Siena College poll released last Thursday showed Suozzi leading Pilip by 48% to 44%, within the survey’s 4.2% margin of error.

A PIX11/Emerson College poll of likely voters, also published last Thursday, showed Suozzi leading Pilip by 50% to 47%, within the survey's 3.5% margin of error.

The migrant crisis has emerged as the dominant issue in the race over the past few days.

Suozzi has called Pilip extreme for opposing a bipartisan U.S. Senate border bill, which would allocate $118 billion to bolster security at the U.S.-Mexico border and send wartime aid to Israel and Ukraine.

Pilip supports the House Republicans’ bill H.R. 2, which would require construction of a 900-mile border wall and force asylum-seekers to stay in detention centers or on the other side of the border.

District voters can use the state Board of Elections' online lookup portal (voterlookup.elections.ny.gov) to determine their poll location. Nassau voters also may call 516-571-VOTE (8683) with questions.

Voters in New York's 3rd Congressional District head to the polls Tuesday for a special election, in which Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican nominee Mazi Melesa Pilip are locked in a tight race with national implications.

Suozzi, a former 3rd District representative, and Pilip, a Nassau County legislator, are vying to fill the balance of former GOP Rep. George Santos’ term. The House expelled Santos, who has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges, on Dec. 1.

Turnout could be impacted by a winter storm that is expected to bring snow to the region beginning about 4 a.m. Tuesday and continuing until the early afternoon. Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

With Republicans controlling the House by a slim margin — the GOP can afford only three defectors in a party-line vote — the campaigns and outside groups have spent more than $20 million to influence the special election.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday in the special election in the 3rd Congressional District between Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican nominee Mazi Melesa Pilip.
  • The stakes are high for both parties, as Republicans control the House of Representatives by a slim margin. The GOP can afford only three defectors in a party-line vote.
  • House members earn $174,000 a year. 

New York’s 3rd District includes parts of Queens and Nassau’s North Shore, and dips south into Levittown and Massapequa.

Early voting ran nine for days, from Feb. 3 through 11.

“It's Santos' old district — that in and of itself is going to bring a lot of attention to the race,” said Jacob Neiheisel, an associate professor of political science at the University at Buffalo.

The 3rd District is a “moderate, purplish” district, and the candidates have focused on national issues, such as the migrant crisis, and expressed strong support for Israel in its war with Hamas.

“It really brings to the fore a lot simmering issues that have a broader national stage,” Neiheisel said.

More than 57,000 voters cast ballots in Nassau County during the early voting period, according to the Nassau County Board of Elections. Of the total, 42% were Democrats, 34% were Republicans and 20% were unaffiliated with a major party.

About 25% of 3rd District voters live in Queens, but early voting figures weren't available immediately from the New York City Board of Elections.

With the seat so important to the House’s balance of power, outside spending in the race has been relentless. Democratic and Republican aligned super PACs had spent more than $16 million through last Thursday, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The bulk of that spending has come from Democrat-aligned groups for television ads attacking Pilip or in support of Suozzi. The Democratic House Majority PAC has spent $7 million of the total, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee another $3 million.

Three GOP-backed groups, the National Republican Congressional Committee, Congressional Leadership Fund and the Secure New York State PAC, have spent a total $3 million on ads attacking Suozzi, FEC records show.

The Suozzi and Pilip campaigns have raised a total of more than $6 million, and spent more than $3 million. Suozzi has outpaced Pilip in direct fundraising and spending by roughly a 2-1 margin, according to FEC filings.

Polls forecast a tight race. A Newsday/Siena College poll released last Thursday showed Suozzi leading Pilip by 48% to 44%, within the survey’s 4.2% margin of error.

A PIX11/Emerson College poll of likely voters, also published last Thursday, showed Suozzi leading Pilip by 50% to 47%, within the survey's 3.5% margin of error.

The migrant crisis has emerged as the dominant issue in the race over the past few days.

Suozzi has called Pilip extreme for opposing a bipartisan U.S. Senate border bill, which would allocate $118 billion to bolster security at the U.S.-Mexico border and send wartime aid to Israel and Ukraine.

Pilip supports the House Republicans’ bill H.R. 2, which would require construction of a 900-mile border wall and force asylum-seekers to stay in detention centers or on the other side of the border.

District voters can use the state Board of Elections' online lookup portal (voterlookup.elections.ny.gov) to determine their poll location. Nassau voters also may call 516-571-VOTE (8683) with questions.

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