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Slim House GOP Majority Takes A Hit With Dem Winning Contest To Replace Santos

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Slim House GOP Majority Takes A Hit With Dem Winning Contest To Replace Santos

The House GOP’s narrow majority is poised to get even smaller with the result of Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 3rd Congressional District to replace freshman Rep. George Santos (R-NY) following his ouster.

News outlets called the race in favor of Democrat Tom Suozzi over his GOP rival, Mazi Pilip, in their race to finish out what is roughly 11 months left in the two-year term for the Long Island seat a couple within a couple hours of polls closing.

The contest reached a conclusion on the heels of a failed GOP bid to stop no-excuse mail-in voting for the special election and, in a twist of fate, a winter storm hit the area just in time for election day, lowering expectations for turnout.

Suozzi, who previously held the seat for six years, and Pilip both offered voters rides to the polls and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a House GOP super PAC, hired snow plow companies to help clear roads.

Heading into the special election, the House party breakdown was 219 Republicans and 212 Democrats, with four vacancies in the 435-member chamber.

Lawmakers voted to expell Santos in early December following a scathing ethics report. He also faces 23 federal charges — including aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, and conspiracy — to which the ex-congressman has pleaded not guilty.

After losing the speakership in October, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) opted to leave Congress at the end of last year. California settled on a March 19 primary and general election on May 21 if no candidate beats the 50% threshold.

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) left office in January to become president of Youngstown State University. Ohio is going with a special election primary for Johnson’s vacant seat on March 19 and a general election on June 11.

And one Democrat, Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY), stepped down in February to become president and CEO of Shea’s Performing Arts Center. April 30 is the date chosen for the special election to snag the Buffalo-area seat.

Beyond vacancies, the both major parties in the House have grappled with absences due to medical reasons.

A bid to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas just barely failed last week with attendance being key to whether House Republicans could overcome a trio of defections.

Rep. Al Green (D-TX) showed up at the last moment to cast what amounted to the decisive vote against impeachment while in a wheelchair after being rushed from a hospital where he had been recovering from abdominal surgery.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) was the sole missing vote as he had been out of Washington and working remotely for several weeks to undergo a stem cell transplant for his fight against blood cancer and then recover from the treatment.

With Scalise back on Capitol Hill this week, the GOP-led House voted 214-213 earlier on Tuesday to impeach Mayorkas despite three Republican defectors joining with all voting Democrats to oppose the effort.

Other issues that House lawmakers are expected to consider include appropriations legislation to avert a government shutdown, FISA reauthorization, and whether to bring articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden.

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Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) spoke last month about the political situation for House Republicans as he faced pushback from a group of conservatives, including members of the Freedom Caucus, amid negotiations on spending and border security with a Senate and White House that are controlled by Democrats.

“Everyone understands the reality of where we are,” Johnson said at a news conference. “The House Republicans have the second-smallest majority in history. We’re not going to get everything that we want. But we’re going to stick to our core conservative principles.”

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