George Santos— despite what he says as part of his checker-playing with the federal prosecutors— will not be running for Congress ever again. It’s way more likely he’ll be doing drag shows in a federal penitentiary. It’s also likely, he’ll do what the two Nassau and Queens party establishments want him to do: retire early enough to trigger a special election. The Republican Party and Democratic Party both want to avoid divisive, costly, crowded primaries and are eager to name the two candidates they actually feel could win— state Sen. Jack Martins for the GOP and former Congressman Tom Suozzi for the Dems.
Last night Suozzi, a moderate, had a fundraiser in DC. It’s like the whole Democratic Party has come together to support him— right across the board. Hosts didn’t just include all the regular suspects like Pelosi, Clyburn and Wasserman Schultz, but a glittering array of solid progressives— Jamie Raskin, Ro Khanna, Ted Lieu, Jim McGovern, Judy Chu, Earl Blumenauer and Adriano Espaillat. Yesterday, Lieu told me that “Democrats will need to win seats like NY-3 in order to take back the majority. Tom Suozzi is a man of integrity, a friend and a former colleague. I’m looking forward to having him back in the House next term (or sooner). The man purportedly known as George Santos is a unique embarrassment to this institution and New Yorkers deserve better representation in the halls of Congress.”
Jamie Raskin sees it much the same way that Ted Lieu does. I spoke with him yesterday as well and he told me that “Tom can clearly win and hold down a difficult district, which is why so many former colleagues are getting behind him. It’s all about building a robust House majority that will have the power to enact pro-choice, pro-labor, pro-environment and pro-LGBTQ policies.”
Melanie D’Arrigo, the first choice of Long Island progressives isn’t going to run this time leaving progressives with… a hope they can influence Suozzi, something that has been done before. He voted against the Hyde Amendment, is good on comprehensive immigration and backed Medicare-for-All. The other Dems trying to nose their way into the race include Josh Lafazan, a creepy right-winger, Zak Malamed, a kid with no platform or apparent values beyond “Hey, I can raise a lot of money,” and state Senator Anna Kaplan, who rode an anti-Trump wave into the state Senate, where she aligned with conservatives. Her immigrant from Iran story is touching, but she tries keeping it quiet that she was from a very wealthy family and isn’t exactly like a normal immigrant. She spends her time planting smears in the local media about Suozzi and is probably accomplishing little beyond ruining her own chances for a political career. And Zimmerman— the incompetent sack who lost to Santos last year— he’s actually keeping his name out there as a potential candidate!
Meanwhile, there are literally 10 Republicans who have officially declared and another 10 who are talking about it. If the GOP establishment top choice, Martins, passes (likely), their two next choices are a former transit cop and rich businessman Mike Sapraicone (who has donated thousands of dollars to Suozzi in the past) and Mazi Melesa Pilip, an Ethiopian Jew (Orthodox) who served in the Israeli army and is now a Nassau County legislator and vice president of the Kol Yisrael Achim synagogue in Great Neck. She seems to identify more as an Israeli than as an American-- but after being represented by a Brazilian drag queen, this district's Republicans might be up for anything!
And, of course, the MAGA movement has it’s own contender, Queens GOP Leader Phil Grillo, an indicted J-6 insurrectionist (who was arrested by the FBI and whose excuse was that he was drunk). He refers to himself as the “Republican Messiah,” although aren't the MAGAts supposed to say that that's what Trump is?Yesterday’s Politico article on the NY-03 race didn’t mention Grillo for some reason— nor Pilip.
The district will probably be redrawn again before the 2024 election but under the current boundaries, Biden beat Trump there by 8.2 points and right now there is a D+2 PVI and a D+4 partisan lean. Suozzi would be the prohibitive favorite, not just in the primary, but up against any of the Republicans considering running. About Nassau County MAGAts would love this picture of Grillo on a campaign poster, t-shirt of coffee mug. It's the closest he'll ever come to being in Congress.