Rep. Thomas Suozzi wins reelection bid in tight race

Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., speaks during a news conference. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Two incumbent Democrats have won re-election to Congress in districts east and north of New York City.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat, has survived a tough challenge to win a third term representing a district that includes Long Island’s wealthy north shore.

And U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado won a second term, defeating military veteran Kyle Van De Water in a district stretching from the Catskills and Hudson Valley to rural counties near Albany.

Both Democrats prevailed in contests that were close on Election Day, but where absentee ballots tipped the scales in their favor once counting began a week after the last votes were cast. The Associated Press declared winners in both races Wednesday.

Delgado, 43, was one of a small number of Democrats nationwide representing a congressional district that favored Trump in the 2016 election.

He’s generally considered a moderate but Republicans accused him during the campaign of being beholden to the liberal wing of his party. His platform of immigration reform, farm assistance and women’s rights prevailed with voters over Van De Water, 40, a Poughkeepsie attorney who advocated for a stronger U.S. border, tax cuts and 2nd Amendment protections.

Suozzi defeated Republican George Santos, a 32-year-old finance professional who ran a strong campaign in his first bid for public office, despite a grueling bout with the coronavirus.

Santos had enjoyed a narrow lead earlier in the count, but Suozzi closed the gap and then pulled ahead by 6 percentage points as absentee ballots were counted.

Santos conceded the race Tuesday.

“Our nation faces tremendous challenges and the division is distracting us from accomplishing our goals,” Suozzi said after Santos' concession. “I will work to try and bridge the divide and address the COVID pandemic, our unstable economy, the climate crisis and the need to rebuild our middle class.”

In a statement, Santos congratulated Suozzi and thanked the police unions that supported his campaign.

Suozzi, 58, has represented New York’s 3rd Congressional District since 2017. He previously served as mayor of Glen Cove and as Nassau County executive.

He had been expected to breeze to reelection, but Republicans in New York City’s suburbs may have benefited from having President Donald Trump on the ballot.

Voters are awaiting results in several House races in upstate New York, including a rematch between U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, a Democrat, and former U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney.

On Election Day, Tenney had a wide lead, but it narrowed as election workers counted more absentee ballots in recent days.

Santos had joked that as a young, gay son of Brazilian immigrants, he was a “walking, living, breathing contradiction” as a Republican candidate. The district is mostly on Long Island but includes a small slice of Queens.

An attorney and certified public accountant, Suozzi is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the chamber’s chief tax-writing committee.

This story has been updated to correct a passage that referred to Suozzi, not Santos, conceding on Tuesday.

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