Five Takeaways From the Democrats’ Recapture of a House Seat

Tom Suozzi’s victory in a special House election in New York on Tuesday gave Democrats a badly needed dose of election-year optimism and a model for how to navigate one of their biggest political liabilities: the migrant influx overwhelming the southern border.

Abortion was once again at the forefront, too, but the race for the Queens and Long Island swing seat also turned on hard-to-replicate local issues. The candidates were competing to replace George Santos, a serial fabulist who made the district a national laughingstock, and an Election Day snowstorm gave Mr. Suozzi an 11th-hour boost.

The outcome will narrow Republicans’ paper-thin House majority, but that party also emerged from the exceedingly close finish with reasons for optimism as they prepare for fall races in districts like this one where President Biden is unpopular.

Here are five takeaways from the results.

A new Democratic playbook on immigration

Democrats have struggled for years to mount a defense against Republican attacks when it comes to immigration and illegal crossings at the southern border. Mr. Suozzi may have just helped write a playbook for how to do it, especially in a handful of crucial House contests around New York.

The issue had all the makings of a political storm. Illegal border crossings reached an all-time high in December, and the arrival of more than 170,000 migrants in New York City has brought the sense of chaos close to home.

Rather than shrink from the issue, though, Mr. Suozzi made the migrant crisis a centerpiece of his campaign. He called for Mr. Biden to close the border and went on local news to call for the deportation of a group of migrant men charged with assaulting police officers in Times Square.

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