New York Republican George Santos flipped New York’s 3rd Congressional district Wednesday and secured another House seat for the GOP.
Santos defeated Democratic Robert Zimmerman, who was vying to fill the Long Island seat after Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi announced he would be retiring to take a stab at New York governor.
Suozzi came in a distant third in the Democratic primaries in the governor’s race, but Santos secured his place in Congress by running on cutting taxes, boosting border security and rallying against cashless bail.
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The Associated Press called the race shortly after 1:30 a.m. once the Republican held a lead of 54.2% of the vote over Zimmerman’s 45.8%, with 90% of the votes already counted.
The Santos-Zimmerman race was the first time two openly gay men ran against each other in a congressional election.
Santos took to Twitter to champion his success and said, “We did it! NY03 has spoken!”
“I promised one thing throughout this entire campaign: to be your champion in DC,” he added. “Thank you for this opportunity to be your voice.”
Republicans have looked to pick up seats anywhere they can in the House in what some said would be a “red wave” in the lead up to the elections.
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First lady Jill Biden stomped for Zimmerman in the Long Island district, but her presence does not appear to have rallied support for the Democratic candidate.
Santos leaned heavily on opposing cashless bail – a controversial Democratic policy that Republicans argue is weak on crime.
The New York policy eliminates money bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies and allows those accused to either be freed while their case plays out in the courts, or they are monitored with an electronic system, according to New York Civil Liberties Union.
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Santos argued the policy “allows dangerous criminals to roam our cities and streets.”
“Criminals must be held accountable for their actions. Democrats in New York and across the country are putting criminals above law-abiding citizens,” he claimed according to the New York Post. “Our community is becoming more and more dangerous at the hands of Democrat leadership.”