The House of Representatives has been in particular turmoil this Congress. Republicans have been desperately holding onto a razor thin majority to try and pass legislation, and have had more challenges thrown their way in that quest than usual.

George Santos: A Republican Issue

Setting aside the issues that have been rampant with the Republican Speakership, one of the conservative’s biggest issues has been former Representative George Santos. He was elected to a seat from a relatively safe conservative district in New York, one that Trump won in 2020, but controversy followed the freshman congressman from the beginning of his term.

Source: Nytimes

Primarily, news of Santos’ financial mishandlings when it comes to campaign funds made him an untrustworthy candidate. This was compounded by the fact that every statement out of his mouth appeared to be only partly truthful, and outright lies in some cases.

Santos Under Investigation

Despite the bad press that it brought to the Republican conference, they held onto Santos for as long as they possibly could. The razor thin majority that the Republicans have in the House meant that former Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, was willing to overlook a significant amount of controversy in order to maintain power.

Source: Wikimedia/Voice of America

Santos found himself under federal investigation for his campaign finances, and ultimately under investigation by the House Ethics committee. All of this compounded to result in a motion to expel Santos from the House of Representatives, which passed this past winter.

An Open House Seat

This left Santos’ seat open for several months, which gave the Republicans an even slimmer majority to pass legislation. Expelling Santos meant that his seat would be filled via special election in the district, which was scheduled for February of this year.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of Congressman Tom Suozzi

The Republicans nominated Mazi Melesa Pilip for the Republican house seat, despite the fact that she’s not a registered Republican. Democrats nominated Tom Suozzi, a veteran politician who once held the seat but gave it up to run in an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign.

A Democratic Flip

The special election was held on Tuesday night, where Suozzi defeated Pilip handily for the seat. This flipped the house seat back to Democratic control, where it had been flipped Republican in the 2022 election.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of Congressman Tom Suozzi

The defeat is a devastating loss for the Republicans, whose majority in the House is now even slimmer. Additionally, many political pundits considered this to be a bellwether election ahead of the 2024 general this November, and it bodes well for Democrats that Suozzi was able to win the seat so handily.

Republicans Unhappy, Trump More So

Understandably, Republicans were not happy with the results of the election. However, no Republican was more unhappy than the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump.

Source: Wikimedia/Tia Dufour

Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, to suggest that Pilip lost the seat for two main reasons. One, Pilip is still a registered Democrat who was running under the Republican ticket. And two, she didn’t seek the support of Trump himself in her election campaign.

Republican Raging on Truth Social

“Republicans just don’t learn, but maybe she was still a Democrat? I have an almost 99% Endorsement Success Rate in Primaries, and a very good number in the GEneral Elections, as well, but just watched this very foolish woman, Mazi Melesa Pilip, running in a race where she didn’t endorse me and tried to ‘straddle the fence,'” Trump wrote.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Of course, this statement is full of Trump’s signature exaggeration. Candidates endorsed by Trump lost in spades during the 2022 midterm, which led to a terrible showing for Republicans. They reclaimed the House by a slim margin, and many prominent Republicans have blamed Trumpism as the reason why.

Trump’s Endorsement Is Poison


Source: Wikimedia/The White House from Washington

Trump’s endorsement means little ahead of the 2024 election, given his past history of endorsement success. The cases where Trump candidates won were in districts and races where the Republican incumbent was already heavily favored to win, so many have considered this to be more bluster from the former president.

A Biden Campaign Statement

The Biden campaign released a statement in the aftermath of Suozzi’s win. It read, “Donald Trump lost again tonight. When Republicans run on Trump’s extreme agenda – even in a Republican-held seat – voters reject them.”

Source: Wikimedia/Michael Stokes

The statement finished, “As we saw in 2020, 2022, 2023, and now tonight, when it comes down to the choice between Donald Trump’s chaos and division and President Biden, who wakes up everyday working to get things done and make Americans’ lives better, voters are consistently choosing the leadership of President Biden and the Democrats.”

A Revelation of the Path Ahead

Biden’s approval rating has been consistently polling low in the months leading up to the primaries, so the Suozzi win in New York is a welcome win for the Democrats. If they hope to hold onto the Presidency and the Senate, and even reclaim the House this November, they’ll need more wins like it.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

As for Trump and the Republicans, the election is a stark reminder of the work that they need to do in order to get their message across. Turnout is typically low for midterms and special elections, but in a hotly divided Congress, every voter counts and Republicans will need to put in the effort to win back America’s trust.