Tom Suozzi, congressman-elect for New York's 3rd Congressional District, speaks...

Tom Suozzi, congressman-elect for New York's 3rd Congressional District, speaks at his victory party at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury on Tuesday. Democrats are hoping to use his campaign message on immigration to win other House seats in November. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

WASHINGTON — The solid victory by Tom Suozzi in the 3rd Congressional District special election Tuesday has given Democrats hope they can campaign on immigration as a winning political issue for House swing seats in the Nov. 5 election.

Suozzi’s success with his unflinching response to the border crisis has Democrats talking about using his campaign as a blueprint for regaining control of the House by winning back swing seats in New York and other states they lost to Republicans in 2022.

Suozzi enjoyed other advantages over his opponent, Republican-backed Mazi Melesa Pilip: He was better-known after three decades in local politics, he and outside groups outspent her backers, he campaigned more aggressively than she did and the snow affected her voters more than his.

But Suozzi’s 54% to 46% win over Pilip foretells other political possibilities as the country heads toward a rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, which will shape many of the issues and much of the debate in congressional elections.

Here are some takeaways from the much-watched special election.

Suozzi’s election keeps immigration at the center of this year’s campaigns for both sides.

“The fairly impressive victory by Suozzi also could be seen as a broader test case for Democrats in fending off Republican attacks on immigration,” wrote Kyle Kondik at University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, suggesting “a path for other Democratic campaigns in the fall.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats blamed Trump for killing a $20 billion bipartisan immigration deal negotiated by a group of senators — to keep it as a campaign issue.

Schumer said, “Donald Trump killing the bipartisan border agreement turns his strongest asset into a huge liability for Republicans.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said the border crisis still will boost Republican candidates when asked Wednesday if he had given Democrats a gift by refusing to consider the bipartisan Senate immigration deal.

“Look, the American people are with us on this issue. I mean, they are with us because they understand you have to actually solve the problem,” he said. “And the product that was produced by the Senate did not solve the problem.”

Political handicappers said Suozzi’s victory could portend ill tidings for Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park), who won an upset victory in 2022 in a district that voted heavily for Biden in 2020 and whose representative to the House had been a Democrat since 1997.

“Looking ahead to the fall, the results in New York’s 3rd mean that Democrats now need a net gain of just 4 seats to recapture the House majority,” wrote Jacob Rubashkin, an analyst at Inside Elections, which provides nonpartisan analysis of federal and state campaigns.

“Several of those gains could come in New York alone, where the party is targeting an additional five districts, all of which, like the 3rd, voted for Joe Biden in 2020,” he said.

Kondik said, “After tonight, D’Esposito should probably be looked at as an outright underdog.”

Suozzi won his House seat back. But can he keep it in the Nov. 5 election?

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau County and New York State Democratic committees, said Suozzi had an “excellent” shot at winning again.

“The Republicans had a tough time coming up with a candidate this time and they had plenty of time to think about it. Now you've got a proven winner [with Suozzi] in a tough low turnout election,” Jacobs said.

“And we're going into a presidential election with high turnout, which favors Democrats because there's far more Democrats than there are Republicans in the district,” he added.

New York State Republican Committee chair Ed Cox said, “It will be a tough campaign given that it will be a nationalized election.” But he added, “We've got a shot with a good candidate to beat Tom Suozzi.”

WASHINGTON — The solid victory by Tom Suozzi in the 3rd Congressional District special election Tuesday has given Democrats hope they can campaign on immigration as a winning political issue for House swing seats in the Nov. 5 election.

Suozzi’s success with his unflinching response to the border crisis has Democrats talking about using his campaign as a blueprint for regaining control of the House by winning back swing seats in New York and other states they lost to Republicans in 2022.

Suozzi enjoyed other advantages over his opponent, Republican-backed Mazi Melesa Pilip: He was better-known after three decades in local politics, he and outside groups outspent her backers, he campaigned more aggressively than she did and the snow affected her voters more than his.

But Suozzi’s 54% to 46% win over Pilip foretells other political possibilities as the country heads toward a rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, which will shape many of the issues and much of the debate in congressional elections.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Tom Suozzi's win has given Democrats hope they can use immigration as a winning political issue in House swing seats in November.
  • Suozzi took an aggressive approach on border issues, which are expected to dominate congressional elections.
  • GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson said the border crisis still will boost Republican candidates despite his chamber refusing to consider a bipartisan Senate deal.

Here are some takeaways from the much-watched special election.

Border debate reshaped?

Suozzi’s election keeps immigration at the center of this year’s campaigns for both sides.

“The fairly impressive victory by Suozzi also could be seen as a broader test case for Democrats in fending off Republican attacks on immigration,” wrote Kyle Kondik at University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, suggesting “a path for other Democratic campaigns in the fall.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats blamed Trump for killing a $20 billion bipartisan immigration deal negotiated by a group of senators — to keep it as a campaign issue.

Schumer said, “Donald Trump killing the bipartisan border agreement turns his strongest asset into a huge liability for Republicans.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said the border crisis still will boost Republican candidates when asked Wednesday if he had given Democrats a gift by refusing to consider the bipartisan Senate immigration deal.

“Look, the American people are with us on this issue. I mean, they are with us because they understand you have to actually solve the problem,” he said. “And the product that was produced by the Senate did not solve the problem.”

Long Island omens

Political handicappers said Suozzi’s victory could portend ill tidings for Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park), who won an upset victory in 2022 in a district that voted heavily for Biden in 2020 and whose representative to the House had been a Democrat since 1997.

“Looking ahead to the fall, the results in New York’s 3rd mean that Democrats now need a net gain of just 4 seats to recapture the House majority,” wrote Jacob Rubashkin, an analyst at Inside Elections, which provides nonpartisan analysis of federal and state campaigns.

“Several of those gains could come in New York alone, where the party is targeting an additional five districts, all of which, like the 3rd, voted for Joe Biden in 2020,” he said.

Kondik said, “After tonight, D’Esposito should probably be looked at as an outright underdog.”

Another election

Suozzi won his House seat back. But can he keep it in the Nov. 5 election?

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau County and New York State Democratic committees, said Suozzi had an “excellent” shot at winning again.

“The Republicans had a tough time coming up with a candidate this time and they had plenty of time to think about it. Now you've got a proven winner [with Suozzi] in a tough low turnout election,” Jacobs said.

“And we're going into a presidential election with high turnout, which favors Democrats because there's far more Democrats than there are Republicans in the district,” he added.

New York State Republican Committee chair Ed Cox said, “It will be a tough campaign given that it will be a nationalized election.” But he added, “We've got a shot with a good candidate to beat Tom Suozzi.”

WHAT TO KNOW

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