It’s rare for an individual to be blessed with a “fresh start,” no less so for a community.
That’s the enviable position residents of the 3rd Congressional District find themselves in, following George Santos’ ouster from Congress.
In 2022, Republican Santos handily defeated a Democratic nominee in a nominally blue district, only to be exposed as a personal, professional and political fraud. Nearly everyone — local Republicans as well as Democrats — wanted Santos gone. A special election on Feb. 13 to choose Santos’ replacement offers voters in the 3rd CD a fresh start.
Who will be on the ballot is up to Republican and Democratic leaders (there’ll be no primary), and that decision may be known by the time you read this.
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The 3rd CD, which hugs Nassau’s North Shore and Northeast Queens, includes a significant Jewish vote in Great Neck, Roslyn, Plainview and neighorhoods in Queens. So Jewish issues — especially Israel (after all, this is a race for Congress, not town council) — will loom large.
Without prejudging the end game before the first down (we’ll evaluate each party’s nominee after we’ve taken our measure of their campaigns), we offer the Republicans a pre-nomination suggestion:
If Republicans opt for Mazi Melesa Pilip, a two-term Nassau County legislator from Great Neck, they’ll have nominated a powerful voice for Israel who, as a fresh face on Capitol Hill, would likely emerge as a unique asset to the national party.
Imagine Pilip — an Ethiopian-born former IDF soldier and Orthodox Jewish mother of seven — facing off against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, her diametrical opposite!
Just as AOC represents antisemites and Israel-bashers nationwide from her pulpit as Congressmember in the adjacent 14th CD, Pilip would speak truth to power, fighting antisemitism in America and amplifying the righteousness of Israel’s cause.
Certainly the Democratic nominee (or a different Republican nominee) will have something to say about this, and perhaps they’ll be equally persuasive. We know where Pilip stands; we’ll look forward to hearing their pitch.