NO, Yesterday's Special Election in New York Was Not a 'Bellwether' as the Media Suggests

Despite significant advantages, the Democrat winner actually underperformed compared to his past elections

By Matt Margolis

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Texas Insider Report) —
 I'm always fascinated by the way people look at an election and try to infer what's going to happen in the future because of it. Yet faith in political "bellwethers" persists, and the concept of bellwethers is hardly new in politics.

In 2021, Glenn Youngkin's surprise victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election had many on the right thinking that it was a sign of a huge red wave to come in 2022.

That red wave didn't happen, by the way.

For years, Ohio and Florida were "bellwether states" that could determine the outcome of a presidential election. Not so much anymore. They're both now very Republican states. Trump won both in 2020, as well as most bellwether counties, but still didn't win the election. Yes, there were outside factors at play, namely mass mail-in voting, but still. 

And to that point, Trump could win both states in November and still lose the election.
I've noticed many in the media suggesting that the special election in NY-03 would serve as a bellwether for the upcoming presidential election.
"The contest has national stakes and could serve as a bellwether for the mood of the electorate this presidential cycle," CNN predicted.

"On Tuesday, Democrat Tom Suozzi was elected to replace indicted former GOP Rep. George Santos of New York in a special House election widely viewed as a bellwether contest ahead of the presidential election," mused Mother Jones.

But was it?

That's a very hard sell from where I sit. 

For starters, as we know, Democrats like to vote early and Republicans prefer to vote on Election Day, and a massive snowstorm in New York District 3 no doubt impacted Election Day turnout.

Also, Suozzi had previously represented the district for three terms and was a pseudo-incumbent in this race against a newcomer.

As my colleague Ed Morrissey notes over at Hot Air, despite these advantages, Democrat Suozzi underperformed compared to his past elections:
  • Suozzi beat Pilip in yesterday's 2024 Special Election 53.9% to 46.1%
  • but in 2020, Suozzi secured a victory over George Santos by 56% to 43.5%
  • And in 2018, Suozzi won over Republican Dan DeBono with 59% to 41%
So, George Santos's 2022 election to Congress was more of an outlier than a sign that the district was actually trending Republican.

In the 2022 election, Santos was likely boosted by Republican Lee Zeldin's gubernatorial candidacy, who though defeated, overperformed in the state compared to past statewide Republican candidates – and who carried the NY-03 Congressional District.

In fact, it's reasonable to speculate that had Suozzi not retired, he'd have defeated Santos in 2022.

The moral of the story is that there's no reason to read too much into this election's results. It wasn't a "bellwether" district to begin with — not that I believe in bellwethers.

But if you do, put your mind at ease.

In fact, the only thing you should take from this election is that Republicans helped Democrats cut into their majority by joining in the effort to expel Santos when he was entitled to due process.

Matt Margolis is a Bestselling Author, and Columnist for PJ Media. The author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, you can follow him on TwitterGETTRTruth SocialFacebook, MeWe, and Rumble.