Special Election on February 13th by Tom Reynolds
Republican George Santos was elected to Congress from a Long Island district in 2022. He’s memorable because he was ‘ethically challenged’ in the extreme and is now an ex-member if Congress. (I know - I know – he was not alone in Congress in having ethics problems, but that’s a discussion for another day.)
A special election to replace Santos will be held on February 13th.
The Republicans currently have a very small majority in the House so the special election will have significant impact. Given the Republicans’ small majority and with Republicans and Democrats sharply divided on gun control – as well as many other issues – this election is important to all Americans and of special interest to all SCOPE members.
Tom Suozzi is running on the Democrat ticket. He said, “I’m proud of my F-rating from the NRA. We see these violent acts with guns happening much too often.”
The Brady Campaign and Giffords endorsed Suozzi and Moms Demand Action named him a ‘Candidate of Distinction’. Brady, Giffords and Moms are all rabidly anti-2A organizations so it’s fair to say that Suozzi is not 2A friendly.
Mazi Melesa Pilip is running on the Republican ticket. Being a political newcomer, there isn’t much available about her position on 2A. One statement was that, on gun control, Pilip supports pro-gun interpretations of the Second Amendment, but makes clear the need for responsible regulations.
Suozzi’s campaign, in an appeal to Democrats, sees it as a negative when they say this about her, “Pilip is also running on the Conservative Party platform that opposes common sense gun reform, even red flag laws.”
Pilip spoke about gun policy in an interview with Spectrum News. When asked about preventing school shootings, she said there are "already policies in place that we have to make sure that we coordinate between the federal and state government."
She favors an assault weapon ban, saying that while she respects the Second Amendment, she does not support automatic weapons.
So, we have one rabidly anti-2A candidate (Suozzi) running against one who is at least mildly pro 2A (Pilip).
A little about their background.
Mazi Melesa Pilip is an Israeli-American. She was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to Israel when she was 12 years old and later served in the Israel Defense Force's Paratroopers Brigade as a gunsmith. Pilip studied at the University of Haifa, where she earned a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy, and also at Tel Aviv University, where she earned a masters degree in diplomacy and security.
Pilip has been a registered Democrat since 2012, but ran for the legislature on the Republican ballot line, serving in New York's Nassau County Legislature since 2022.
Thomas Richard Suozzi is a politician, attorney, and accountant. He had previously served eight years as the mayor of Glen Cove. He was the county executive of Nassau County from 2002 to 2009, when he was unseated by a Republican. He served as the Representative for New York's 3rd Congressional District from 2017 to 2023.
In 2006, Suozzi ran unsuccessfully against Eliot Spitzer for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York.
He retired from Congress to run again for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York in 2022, losing to incumbent governor Kathy Hochul.
Since leaving Congress in 2023, Suozzi has been a ‘strategic adviser’ to clients rather than a registered lobbyist, since he was barred from lobbying Congress for two years as a former member.
A SCOPE member lamented not knowing enough about a politician’s character. Here is a little something.
For one brief second, Suozzi was a 2A supporter. Complaining about then President Donald Trump, Suozzi seemed to promote armed rebellion against Trump. Suozzi said, “And then, you know, this is where the Second Amendment comes in quite frankly.”
Suozzi took so much heat for that statement, his office tried to explain, “Congressman Suozzi explained why our founding fathers created the Second Amendment as a way for citizens to fight back against a tyrannical government that does not follow the rule of law.”
I wonder if he feels the same way with Biden as President?
Suozzi had other issues, too.
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012 is to prevent insider trading by Congress. Ethics violations were lodged against Suozzi in 2021 and 2022 for failing to report $ millions in stock trades. When Suozzi explained why he had not disclosed hundreds of stock trades in a timely manner, he told investigators: "Quite frankly, we have a lot going on in Congress. I have a lot of other stuff going on. And it's just not—ethics is a big priority for me. But…the…some of the formalities are not necessarily something I make a priority of."
Business Insider published "Conflicted Congress" (an investigation of lawmakers' stock trades and financial holdings). Suozzi was one of only 13 lawmakers given a "Danger" rating.
In an amusing turn around, Democrats tend to run people based on race, gender, etc. (VP Harris for example.) But in this race, the Republican is a Black, Jewish, Ethiopian woman while the Democrat is a White male. Will Democrats push diversity in this case?
One final thought.
This election is important to all of us because, when voting for any legislator, you are really voting for two people; the legislator and the head of the legislator’s party. The latter might become the Speaker / Majority Leader due to the election and have enormous power over that legislative body. A vote for Suozzi is a vote for a Democrat Speaker and a vote for Pilip is a vote for a Republican Speaker. And you know which party’s leadership Is ant-2A.
If you are interested in donating to either’s campaign:
Mazi Pilip for Congress | Mazi for NY
Suozzi for Congress - Let's Fix This!