Democrat crushing GOP opponent in campaign cash ahead of NY special election

The Democrat in this month’s closely watched New York special election for Congress has outraised and outspent his GOP opponent by a more than three-to-one margin in the race to replace expelled former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.)., according to new filings late Thursday.

Former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), raised $4.5 million from Oct. 1 of last year through Jan. 24, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.

That’s more than triple the $1.3 million GOP nominee Mazi Pilip raised over the same period, and it’s helped to give Suozzi and Democrats a leg up on the pricey New York airwaves in the run-up to the Feb. 13 special election.

Suozzi also outspent Pilip, $2.4 million to $714,000, through Jan. 24. But as of last Wednesday, Suozzi had more money on hand for the stretch run of the race: $2.2 million, to $629,000 for Pilip, the filings showed.

Suozzi’s dominant financial advantage is part of Democrats’ overall edge in spending ahead of the special election. In all, Democrats have spent or reserved $9.8 million in advertising for the race, according to AdImpact, compared to Republicans’ $6.2 million. And since candidates pay less for television ads than outside groups, Suozzi’s better cash situation means those numbers actually understate Democrats’ TV ad advantage.

As is typical for high-profile special elections, both Suozzi and Pilip received numerous contributions from their would-be House colleagues, including members of leadership. House Speaker Mike Johnson’s leadership PAC, American Revival PAC, gave Pilip’s campaign $5,000 in December, while House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ campaign donated to Suozzi.

Santos, who’s facing indictment on charges of fraud and campaign finance violations but has yet to be brought to trial, was expelled in December, opening up his seat. Party leaders in the New York City borough of Queens and Nassau County on Long Island chose Suozzi and Pilip as their candidates, and each has faced a short sprint to the special election.

A Suozzi victory would further narrow Republicans’ already-small House majority and offer a much needed jolt to Democrats worried over President Joe Biden’s poll numbers. A Pilip win, meanwhile, would suggest that the GOP’s focus on immigration and crime is a potent message in New York City’s outer boroughs and close-in suburbs.

Either way, Democrats in Albany are expected to reconfigure downstate congressional districts in a rare mid-decade redistricting before the November general election, seeking to flip two or three of Long Island’s four seats.

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