Mazi Pilip vs Tom Suozzi: Who will fill George Santos's seat?

Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican Mazi Pilip are facing off in Long Island's special election to fill disgraced former Rep George Santos's seat.

Voters in New York’s third congressional district will decide who will complete the remaining 11 months of Santos’ unfinished term.

Polls close Tuesday at 9 p.m. Make sure to check back with FOX 5 NY for election results.

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The selection pits little-known Nassau County legislator Pilip against a political veteran and former U.S. Representative Suozzi, who previously represented the district for six years. The seat once held by Santos has become a high-profile contest that both parties have zeroed in on to possibly take control of the House.

Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., is seen before the House voted to pass the Right To Contraception Act in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, July 21, 2021. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Since Santos' exit back on Dec. 1, Republicans control the chamber 219 to 213. 

The seat represents some Long Island suburbs and parts of Queens.

Santos told reporters earlier this month that he isn’t likely to cast a ballot at all.

Who is Mazi Pilip?

Mazi is an Ethiopian Jewish woman who served as a paratrooper in the Israeli military as a paratrooper. She is also a married mother of seven children. 

Philip says she is "the only candidate in this race who can say [she hasn’t] supported tax hikes."

Mazi Pilip heads out to vote February 9 (Credit: Jodi Goldberg)

She also positions herself as the best candidate to combat the "far-left of the Democratic Party in Congress," according to Fox News.

The party’s choice came after an extensive vetting process as GOP leaders tried to redeem themselves after previously supporting Santos. 

"We need more fighters and Mazi is that fighter," Rep. Anthony D’Esposito said.

Still, Democrats have raised many suspicions after Politico reported that Pilip is a registered Democrat, though she holds her current position as a Republican. They have also questioned her ties to Santos.

Who is Tom Suozzi?

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi represented the district for six years before launching an unsuccessful campaign for governor.

He also served as the mayor of Glen Cove from 1994 to 2001, and as Nassau County’s elected executive from 2002 to 2009.

According to his website, Suozzi is focused on "protecting the environment, common-sense gun safety, full access to reproductive health care, immigration, caring for our veterans, affordable healthcare, and fiscal responsibility."

Suozzi's deep ties in Long Island politics provided him with name recognition and the ability to quickly stand up a campaign -- vital attributes in a narrowly focused election where voters would have a limited amount of time to make their pick. 

"We look forward to working with the Suozzi Campaign, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to restore integrity, competence, and a focus on the real needs of our larger community," the Nassau County and Queens County Democratic Committees said in a joint statement.

The centrist Democrat had announced his campaign for the seat before Santos was expelled.