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Republican Mazi Pilip, Democrat Tom Suozzi set to face off in special election to replace expelled congressman George Santos

Pilip, Suozzi set to face off in special election to replace George Santos
Pilip, Suozzi set to face off in special election to replace George Santos 02:13

NEW YORK -- New York Republicans have named their candidate to replace expelled Congressman George Santos, and party leaders say they're confident in the vetting process this time.

Republicans in Nassau and Queens turned out in force, nominating Mazi Pilip, a little-known first-term Nassau County legislator, as their candidate in the special election to replace Santos.

"I am the example of the American dream," Pilip said.

Pilip is an Ethiopian Jew who migrated to Israel, served in the Israeli Defense Forces and came to the United States as a young woman.

"She's a mother, she's a soldier, she's a legislator," former Republican Rep. Peter King said.

"An immigrant, a woman of color," Nassau County Exec. Bruce Blakeman said.

"Over the last 10 months, the Long Island Four has been the Long Island Four-ish," Rep. Anthony D'Esposito said.

In direct reference to Santos, who humiliated his Republican colleagues, and their now razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives.

"This is a very historic moment for me and my family ... My beautiful seven children ... I have not supported tax hikes ... I fully funded our police," Pilip said.

The stage is set to compete against former Rep. Tom Suozzi, who did not seek re-election, ran for governor last year and now wants his old job back.

"I think name recognition will probably work," one constituent said.

"I would give her a chance," another constituent said.

"I hold no allegiance to either party," another man said.

The 3rd District has changed substantially since 2020, the last time Suozzi ran for the seat. The redrawn district now includes Republican strongholds like Levittown and Massapequa.

The Massapequa VFW Hall was where Pilip's announcement was made.

"Let's rebuild our economy and secure our borders. Let's support our police and support Israel and other allies," she said.

Pilip left taking, no questions, not commenting on her initial support of Santos.

Democrats criticize her spotty voting record as a registered Democrat and backing by the Conservative Party's anti-abortion stance.

"That's all nonsense. They're going to be grasping at straws," said Joseph Cairo, Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman.

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