Trump Blames NY Election Loss On MAGA Supporters ‘Staying Home’—But Voters Say They’re Sick Of House Infighting

Topline

Former President Donald Trump railed against GOP candidate Mazi Pilip after she lost a special election Tuesday in New York for George Santos’ former House seat, blaming her loss on not sufficiently embracing Trump and his “MAGA” supporters—though CNN suggested House Republicans and their inability to pass legislation could also be to blame.

Key Facts

Democrat Tom Suozzi won the special election in New York’s Third District, earning 53.9% of votes as of 6 a.m. Eastern time.

Trump criticized Pilip as “very foolish” for not being more supportive of him on Truth Social, claiming she was “running in a race where she didn’t endorse me and tried to ‘straddle the fence,’ when she would have easily WON if she understood anything about MODERN DAY politics in America.”

Pilip is a registered Democrat despite now holding local office as a Republican, and Politico notes the candidate distanced herself from Trump for much of the campaign before praising him in the days before the election—only revealing she voted for Trump in 2020 in a Feb. 10 New York Post interview, after previously keeping her vote private.

Trump’s MAGA supporters, which he claimed is a majority of the GOP, “STAYED HOME” because Pilip was not supportive enough of Trump, the ex-president claimed, “AND [the MAGA movement] ALWAYS WILL, UNLESS IT IS TREATED WITH THE RESPECT THAT IT DESERVES.”

Whether that actually was the reason for Pilip’s loss as Trump claimed is unclear, as there were likely other factors that affected Suozzi’s win, ranging from poor weather conditions on Tuesday to Suozzi significantly outraising Pilip.

CNN suggested House Republicans may be another reason, citing conversations with voters Tuesday who voted for Trump in 2016, but then voted for Suozzi because of his “message of bipartisanship” and “the fact that House Republicans have really struggled to pass legislation over the last couple of weeks.”

What To Watch For

Suozzi’s ascendance to the House means Republicans will now hold 219 seats in the House—only one more than the 218 that constitutes a majority. That could make it even harder for Republicans to pass legislation moving forward. Santos’ former seat will once again be up for election in November, with Trump urging Republicans to “GIVE US A REAL CANDIDATE IN THE DISTRICT FOR NOVEMBER,” claiming Suozzi can be “EASILY BEATEN.”

Tangent

Democrats also had a good night Tuesday in Pennsylvania, where the party maintained its narrow majority in the state’s House of Representatives. Democratic candidate Jim Prokopiak won a House seat in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County, giving the party a thin 102-100 majority in the chamber.

Surprising Fact

Trump touted his record for endorsing winning candidates on Truth Social Wednesday, claiming he has “an almost 99% Endorsement Success Rate in Primaries, and a very good number in the General Elections, as well.” Trump’s track record with endorsements has actually been more mixed than he’s claimed: While the New York Times found he had a 82% success rate with endorsements in the 2022 midterms, it noted most of those were for incumbents and “heavy favorites to win.” The ex-president’s favored candidates actually lost most of the closer races he weighed in on, including all five competitive House races in which he endorsed a candidate.

Key Background

The New York special election was called after Santos was expelled from Congress in December, and has been closely watched given the district’s swing status. Suozzi previously represented the district in Congress until 2022, when he opted not to run for reelection—instead launching a failed bid for New York governor—and Santos beat out Democratic candidate Robert Zimmerman. While President Joe Biden beat Trump within the district in 2020, a recent Newsday/Siena College poll found voters now prefer Trump in 2024, with him earning 47% support to Biden’s 42%. Politico notes Suozzi largely distanced himself from Biden during the special election, as Pilip did with Trump, though the president reportedly called Suozzi to congratulate him, and the Biden campaign celebrated the congressman-elect’s win.

Further Reading

Democrat Tom Suozzi Wins New York Congressional Race To Replace George Santos (Forbes)

No thanks, Mr. President: Special election candidates shun Biden and Trump (Politico)

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