The first ballots in a closely watched New York special election were cast on Saturday, for the first day of early voting. New York’s 3rd Congressional district covers parts of Queens and Nassau County.

Democrat Tom Suozzi, who previously represented the area before George Santos, is looking to win back the seat.

What You Need To Know

  • Voters headed to the polls on Saturday for the first day of early voting in New York’s special election

  • Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican Mazi Pilip are competing for New York’s 3rd Congressional district, covering parts of Queens and Nassau county

  • The seat was left open after George Santos was ousted from congress. He’s facing federal charges for fraud

  • Suozzi was out with supporters including the “Women for Suozzi” group vowing to support reproductive rights 

Suozzi held a rally with women supporters on Saturday to boost support in the final weeks of the campaign.

“I want to say in front of all of you and all of them behind me, that I am 100% committed to abortion remaining safe, legal and accessible in the United States,” Suozzi said at the event Saturday.

Women at the event said women’s rights are on the attack and they want a candidate in office who is going to protect their right to choose.

“There’s no mystery about what a dangerous situation this is for reproduction access. I don’t have to tell you that it’s better in New York State but we can’t take anything for granted,” said Robin Golston, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts.

“We need a fighter, a fighter for our freedom. He will show up for you, he will show up for us, he will show up for all Americans who care about access to reproductive care,” said Liz Schoetz, chief campaign and advocacy officer at Reproduction Freedom For All.

House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries was also on the trail with Suozzi earlier in the day, helping to get out the vote.

Meanwhile, the Republican in the race Mazi Pilip, a relative newcomer, is looking to hold on to the seat for House Republicans.

The GOP holds a slim majority in the House. Speaker Mike Johnson met with Pilip and supporters in the district on Friday. She has been critical of Suozzi and Democrats over immigration.

“Tom Suozzi helped create our immigration crisis in Congress. He’ll make it worse,” said Pilip in an attack ad.

Pilip later followed that up with criticism at a rally near Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in late January. The location is home to a migrant shelter.

“He created this problem. He supported President Biden 100% of the time. As the county executive, he kicked out ICE,” Pilip said.

The race is being closely watched nationally. More than $5 million in spending has been poured into the election for attack ads and air time. 

“And anything else you might hear is garbage,” said Suozzi in an ad.

The seat was previously held by George Santos, who was expelled as he faces federal charges for fraud.

Pilip, an Orthodox Jew, was observing Shabbat on Saturday and did not hold any official events.

On Feb. 8, Suozzi and Pilip will appear in their first and only televised debate.

The New York City Board of Elections posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, Saturday night to share 1,344 resident checked in to vote in this race for the first day of early voting.

13 showed up for the city’s other special election, Assembly District 77 in the Bronx.

Early voting runs through February 11. Election Day is February 13.