Not an Ordinary Special Election, and Yet a Typical Result

Tom Suozzi on Tuesday night after another Democratic victory. Credit…Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

As I prepared to write this ahead of Tuesday’s special election to replace George Santos in New York’s Third District, two completely different outcomes seemed easy to imagine — or explain away.

One was that the results would be excellent for Democrats, like most special elections this year. If their strength was just about the low turnout, it might not say much about their appeal to the wider electorate this November.

Another was that the result would be excellent for Republicans, as New York and Long Island have been for Republicans over the last few years. If so, it might just be another New York romp, with little meaning for the rest of the country.

Either way, the special election could not tell us much about President Biden’s chances in the general election.

In the end, it was a triumph for the Democrats. Tom Suozzi, a former Democratic representative, defeated the Republican Mazi Pilip by just under eight points (54 percent to 46 percent) as of this writing.

The result is significant in one sense: It puts Democrats one seat closer to retaking the House, and that’s no small matter when Republicans entered the night clinging to a thin majority.

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