Santos is Out, the Battle for NY-03 Begins on TV


Written by Nate Schwartz

2024 is getting an early competitive Congressional election with NY-03’s special general on February 13, due to George Santos’ (R) expulsion from Congress in December. The open New York seat is currently rated as a toss-up according to Cook Political Report and has already seen $7.4M in ad spending and future reservations. 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul set the general election date on December 5th and Tom Suozzi was selected to be the Democratic candidate two days later. On December 14th, Mazi Pilip was selected to become the Republican pick for NY-03. That same day, Suozzi placed his first ad buy in the election, with $37K on cable. His campaign placed another cable reservation the next week, totaling $42K.

After a quiet Christmas, House Majority PAC began buying broadcast ads in the New York City market on December 28th. A day later, DCCC entered the election, with broadcast and cable ad placements. By the turn of the New Year, Democratic advertisers had spent $4.9M on NY-03. Republican advertisers were yet to make an expenditure in the election.

On January 2nd, Republican advertisers entered the race: the NRCC and an NRCC/Pilip coordinated buy amounted to $947K on broadcast and cable. The Pilip campaign has also added $169K on cable and $12K on digital. To date, we have tracked $1.1M in total Republican expenditure.

a visual showing NY-03 spending

Currently, Democratic advertisers have outspent Republican advertisers at a 6:1 ratio, with both parties having purchased ads up through election day.  The 2024 special election total has already surpassed 2022’s general election total. We’ve tracked $7.4M for next month’s election but only saw $4.5M in the NY-03 2022 general.

In the 2022 general election (when Santos won), Democratic advertisers outspent Republican advertisers at a 7:1 ratio: $3.9M to $560K. The 2022 general election’s $4.5M ranked last among all 2022 House toss-up elections (and 72nd out of all 367 House general elections to see ad expenditure). 

Both sides have taken shots at each other in early advertisements. The NRCC/Pilip ad contrasts Suozzi’s place in the House Democrats’ “socialist squad” with Pilip’s strong border and lower taxes platforms. Meanwhile, DCCC’s ad accuses Pilip of being “handpicked” by MAGA Republicans. Suozzi has aired two unique ads to date, which focus on his political accomplishments. One even briefly mentions Santos. House Majority PAC and the NRCC’s ads do not start running until later in the month. Follow our X (formerly Twitter) to see new ads in the election. Even though the NY-03 special election has already surpassed its 2022 total, more money is bound to come in leading to February 13th. The slim Republican majority in Congress makes this seat a unique opportunity for both parties, despite the fact that the regular 2024 election is just around the corner.

Need a refresher on what New York Congressional spending looked like in the 2022 Midterms? Read our analysis of 2022 Midterms New York Congressional spending here.

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