Photo: Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images
On Tuesday, voters decide who will succeed George Santos in his Queens and Long Island district after the congressman was ousted late last year by his House colleagues. But after weeks of campaigning, door-knocking, and early voting, the results of that long-awaited race may be affected by something out of the hands of either party: the weather.
New York City, Long Island, and northeast New Jersey are under a winter-storm watch from 4 a.m. through 6 p.m. Tuesday as a Nor’easter heads toward the region. According to the National Weather Service, the system, which has tracked south over the last day, is expected to drop as much as five to eight inches of snow on parts of the city and Long Island with the possibility of one to two inches falling per hour. Early voting in the special election ended on Sunday, meaning any outstanding voters will likely have to brave the elements on Tuesday.
The storm will bring the area’s most substantial snowfall in years. Last month, New York City finally broke its more than 701-days-long record of consecutive snowless days but only recorded 1.4 inches of snow. In anticipation of the storm, New York public schools announced that students will be moving to remote learning on Tuesday.
Early voting in the Third Congressional District began on February 3, giving voters a little more than a week to cast their ballots in advance for former Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi or Republican Nassau County legislator Mazi Pilip. Both candidates headed to their own polling places on Friday. Spectrum News reported that more than 21,000 New Yorkers cast their votes in the first two days of early voting. Suozzi, who urged his supporters to vote early on Sunday ahead of the impending storm, also advised voters that they can still fill out a ballot in person at the Board of Elections office on Monday. “Be safe. Vote today. Vote Suozzi,” he said on X.
Polling has long shown a tight race between the two candidates where the slightest shift in voting could make a significant difference. A Newsday/Siena College poll released Thursday showed Suozzi leading Pilip 48 percent to 44 percent among likely voters in the district with a 4.2 percent margin of error. The race will have serious implications in the House of Representatives, where a series of retirements have weakened the Republican Party’s thin hold on the chamber.