Suozzi and Pilip hunt for votes as snowstorm dampens turnout in special election to replace ex-Rep. George Santos

NEW YORK — Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip scrambled for votes Tuesday as a special election day snowstorm threatened to dampen turnout in their hotly contested Long Island congressional special election to replace disgraced ex-Rep. George Santos.

The two campaigns were offering supporters rides to snow-blanketed polling stations in the NY-03 district and trading last-minute jabs as they looked for an edge in a hard-fought race that polls say is too close to call.

Suozzi was up early to meet workers changing shifts in heavy snow at a UPS warehouse in Uniondale.

“No snow day for Team Suozzi!” he declared.

Turnout was said to be very ligh t amid heavy morning snow. But both campaigns said they expect things to pick up significantly if or when the storm moves away as early as mid-afternoon.

A final election-eve poll by a conservative polling firm gave Suozzi a razor thin 46%-45% edge over Pilip. It’s the latest survey to give the ex-three term lawmaker the slimmest of leads over GOP rising star Pilip in the suburban swing district.

The survey offered good news to Democrats by finding that Suozzi leads by a whopping 21% among those voters who have already cast their ballots either in early in-person voting or by absentee ballot.

That finding backs up Democratic claims that Suozzi has already banked a significant lead in the race, an edge that could be all the more significant if the winter storm impacts turnout.

The campaigns could be in for a late night after polls close at 9 p.m. Nassau County, which accounts for more than 80% of the votes in the district, is notoriously slow at releasing results.

Both parties have invested heavily in winning the seat, which leans Democratic but delivered a 7% win for Santos in the 2022 midterms, which Republicans swept elections across Long Island.

Republicans hold only a seven-seat edge in the House of Representatives, a margin that would be cut to six if Suozzi wins, meaning House Speaker Mike Johnson could afford to lose no more than two GOP votes to be sure of passing legislation.

The district, which spans the North Shore and a portion of Queens, is considered a bellwether for the fall election when Democrats will seek to retake the House from the GOP.

Santos became a national punchline in the months after his win when he was forced to admit lying about most of his life story. He was expelled from the House last year and is awaiting trial on federal fraud, theft and campaign finance charges.