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    Tom Suozzi sworn back into Congress, filling vacant Santos seat and narrowing the GOP’s slim majority

    Nathan Howard/Getty Images

    U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson swears in Rep. Tom Suozzi as his wife Helene Suozzi looks on during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on February 28, 2024 in Washington, DC.

    Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi of New York was sworn into Congress on Wednesday evening after winning a special election earlier this month that captured the nation’s attention to fill the US House seat of expelled Republican Rep. George Santos.

    Suozzi’s entrance into Congress further narrows an already slim GOP majority in Congress, which now holds 219 Republicans and 213 Democrats. That means the GOP can only lose two votes to pass a measure, a task made even more difficult by potential absences and divisions across the House Republican Conference.

    Congress currently has three vacancies, one in a safe Democratic district and two in safe Republican districts. Former New York Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins resigned from Congress earlier this monthformer Ohio GOP Rep. Bill Johnson resigned last month and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy resigned at the end of last year. However, replacement candidates will need to run in special elections, so these seats will not be filled until later this year.

    Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

    Tom Suozzi delivers his victory speech during his election night party, following a special election to fill the vacancy created by Republican George Santos’ ouster from Congress, in Woodbury, New York, on Tuesday, February 13.

    Suozzi won’t be a newcomer to Congress; he represented a previous version of New York’s 3rd Congressional District for three terms. Considered a moderate Democrat, Suozzi also lost two bids for his party’s nomination for governor – he finished third in the Democratic primary against Gov. Kathy Hochul last year and lost a 2006 bid to Eliot Spitzer.

    This year, Suozzi ended up winning by nearly eight points against Republican nominee Mazi Pilip, an Ethiopian-born Israeli immigrant who served in the Israel Defense Forces, in a race that became heavily defined by immigration, crime and voter trust.

    The seat Santos originally won was among the Biden districts in New York that flipped in 2022, helping deliver the GOP majority in Congress. However, soon after, Santos’ web of lies around his resume and personal finances began to unravel, resulting in a House Ethics Committee investigation and his expulsion from Congress.

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