Democratic leaders unsurprisingly announced on Thursday that they'd chosen former Rep. Tom Suozzi to be the party's nominee in the closely watched Feb. 13 special election to replace Suozzi's successor, expelled GOP Rep. George Santos. Suozzi has spent more than two decades as one of the most prominent Democrats on Long Island, so his party is hoping that his name recognition and moderate reputation will be an asset.
Local Republicans, meanwhile, seem to be delaying their choice. The New York Daily News' Dave Goldiner reported on Thursday that the GOP would not announce a selection until "early next week,” but a party spokesperson previously said the party would decide by the end of this week. (Primary voters in New York do not select nominees in special elections.)
One Republican hopeful is using that extra time to roll out a poll he hopes will help his prospects. Opinion Diagnostics conducted a survey for Air Force veteran Kellen Curry the day before Santos was expelled that shows Suozzi leading him 43-39. While that might not sound like the most enticing result, Curry's survey finds that rival Republicans who've attracted more attention would nonetheless fare similarly.
In particular, respondents favor Suozzi 43-40 against Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip, while they prefer the Democrat by a slightly larger 45-38 margin over businessman Mike Sapraicone. The polling firm's memo goes on to say that when presented with seven different "character attributes," voters overwhelmingly say they're more likely to favor a "United States Military Veteran."
The pollster adds that 58% of those polled say they're "less likely" to support someone who has backed Santos in the past. "Thankfully, my understanding is that you did not endorse Santos and no photographs of you exist with him," pollster Brian Wynne adds in an unusually wry note for such a memo, though he didn't specify who does fit this description.
"The [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] has indicated they intend to make the special election a referendum on Santos," Wynne concludes, "and this poll indicates that any past affiliation with him is likely fatal to a Republican campaign." It's not clear whether any of the other GOP candidates ever snapped a selfie with the disgraced ex-congressman, but Santos did endorse Sapraicone following his expulsion. Sapraicone had previously called Santos "a crook and fraudster."