The New York Republican Party has nominated Mazi Melesa Pilip, a Nassau County legislator, to compete against former Representative Tom Suozzi, the Democrats’ candidate, in the upcoming special election for the Long Island congressional seat.
The election, scheduled for February 13th, is seen as a determining factor for the House’s control in 2025 and is particularly significant following the resignation of George Santos, who faced criminal fraud charges.
Born in Ethiopia, Pilip immigrated to Israel at the age of 12. She served in the Israel Defense Forces before moving to the United States.
Pilip has been registered as a Democrat since 2012 but was elected to the Nassau County Legislature on the Republican ballot line.
Pilip studied occupational therapy at the University of Haifa, where she met her American-Ukrainian Jewish husband.
This relationship ultimately led Pilip and her husband to Great Neck, New York, where the couple now resides with their seven children.
Former Republican Representative Pete King commented on Pilip’s Democratic affiliation, suggesting it could be advantageous in the predominantly Democratic district.
“She’s a proven vote-getter,” King stated, praising her dedication to campaigning even during pregnancy.
The Republican party has praised Pilip as a dedicated tax reformer, committed to public safety, economic revival, border security, and tax relief.
The nomination process for the final candidate was rigorous, with the GOP conducting extensive interviews and background checks with the help of external firms.
This heightened scrutiny is a direct response to the controversy surrounding Santos.
“Santos is arguably the most ineffective member in the history of the Congress, recent history for sure,” remarked Kellen Curry, an Afghanistan War veteran and one of the interviewed candidates.
Another candidate, business owner and Israeli Defense Forces veteran Daniel Norber, supported the thorough vetting, acknowledging the necessity of meticulous candidate selection post-Santos.