The Black woman who was chosen by New York Republicans to run for the Congressional seat recently vacated by George Santos‘ expulsion is actually a registered Democrat, reports have revealed.
Mazi Melesa Pilip, an elected official in Long Island, was on Thursday identified through anonymous sources as Republicans’ preferred candidate to represent New York’s 3rd congressional district.
The 44-year-old mother of seven who was born in Ethiopia currently works as a legislator in Nassau County. The New York Times compared her to Santos as a “relatively unknown candidate with a remarkable biography but a thin political résumé.”
But that may be the least of her worries as what seems like her inevitable candidacy commands national media attention.
While Pilip ran on the Republican ticket to win her current seat, she’s been a registered Democrat for more than a decade, according to a report from POLITICO last week that suggested her political affiliation could become a “problem” if she decides to run.
A spokesperson from the Nassau County Board of Elections confirmed Pilip is a registered Democrat. Local Republicans, who secretly voted on Thursday morning to nominate Pilip, have said they are aware of her political affiliations but believe that they are aligned with the GOP.
The New York Times reported:
Ms. Pilip, however, lacks many of the credentials typically prized in a competitive congressional race. She has almost no experience raising money, lacks relationships with key party figures outside her affluent New York City suburb and has never faced the kind of scrutiny that comes with being a candidate for high office.
In fact, beyond fierce advocacy for Israel and support for the police, she has taken no known public opinions on major issues that have shaped recent House contests. That includes abortion rights, gun laws and the criminal charges against former President Donald J. Trump.
POLITICO described Pilip as “a pro-Israel, Black, Orthodox Jew who served in the IDF” – Israel’s military.
Pilip won her election in 2021 and reelection this year in part by spotlighting antisemitism, a topic that has increasingly gained attention amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
She previously told POLITICO that she would “definitely consider” running if Republican leaders wanted her to.
“We are waiting patiently,” Pilip said in September, well before Santos was officially expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month.
Pilip is expected to be officially introduced as the Party’s nominee at a rally in Long Island on Friday.
The special election to fill the vacant seat in Congress has been set for Feb. 13.
It’s been speculated that Tom Suozzi, also of Long Island, will be the Democratic nominee.
Santos, who is currently facing 23 felony charges related to fraud, identity theft and falsification of records, was expelled on Dec. 1 following a 311-114 bipartisan vote in the House.
A report from the House Ethics Committee was released following a months-long investigation into Santos and reveals that the Republican used campaign funds for personal purposes, including purchases on OnlyFans and Sephora. He also allegedly used funds to pay down personal debts and for a $4,127.80 purchase at Hermes.
The report also found that Santos “engaged in fraudulent conduct in connection with RedStone Strategies LLC, and engaged in knowing and willful violations of the Ethics in Government Act as it relates to his Financial Disclosure (FD) Statements filed with the House.”
The committee said that Santos’ conduct “warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House.”
A former fundraiser for Santos has already pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge for soliciting donations while impersonating a high-ranking congressional aide.
Separately, Santos has done everything from comparing himself to Rosa Parks to claiming he’s half-Black following a surprise election that uncovered a fine blend of personal and professional lies about his education, career, sexual orientation, the Holocaust and the Sept. 11 terror attacks that became spectacularly unraveled in a New York Times exposé.
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