New York Republicans nominate Ethiopian-Israeli-American IDF vet Mazi Melesa Pilip to replace ex-Rep. Santos in Congress

 December 16, 2023

Following the expulsion of criminally charged serial liar former Rep. George Santos (R-NY) from Congress, a special election was scheduled for Feb. 13 for voters in New York's Third Congressional District to choose a replacement to serve out the remainder of the term.

On Thursday, New York Republicans nominated Nassau County legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip to run against Democratic nominee Tom Suozzi, who previously represented the district in Congress for several terms before Santos, according to Politico.

The pick follows a reportedly extensive and lengthy vetting process by Republican officials of prospective candidates in hopes of avoiding another fiasco like Santos, who was exposed for having embellished or lied about numerous aspects of his background during the 2022 election cycle and has since been accused of and charged with multiple counts of campaign finance violations and fraud.

Ethiopian-born Orthodox Jewish Israeli-American IDF veteran

Pilip's background is rather intriguing, as the 44-year-old mother of seven is an Ethiopian-born Orthodox Jewish veteran soldier of the Israel Defense Force, according to The Times of Israel.

In 1991, Pilip's Orthodox Jewish family fled Ethiopia for Israel when she was 12, and upon coming of age in the Jewish nation, she served a stint in the IDF as part of a paratrooper unit, after which she attended a few Israeli universities -- where she met a Ukrainian-American medical student who would later become her husband -- and studied topics like diplomacy and occupational therapy.

Seemingly a natural leader, Pilip ascended to the top of the Ethiopian Student Union in Israel and served for two years with a sharp focus on education and societal integration.

A registered Democrat who has campaigned and won as a Republican

The Times reported that after settling in America with her husband to raise their family, Pilip was compelled to run for local office in New York's Nassau County in part because of the antisemitism her mixed-race Jewish son faced in school, and successfully ousted a Democrat to win a seat in the county legislature in 2021 -- a position to which she was just recently re-elected.

Interestingly enough, Politico's Playbook reported earlier that despite twice running and winning as a Republican -- and now being picked as the GOP nominee in the special election to Congress -- Pilip is actually a registered Democrat in New York since 2012.

However, The Times noted that such partisan crossover situations aren't necessarily uncommon in states with closed primaries, and one former Republican congressman from New York thought Pilip's Democratic registration might even play to her advantage.

"The fact that she’s a Democrat, that actually could be a plus because that is more of a Democratic district," former Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told Politico. He further noted that Pilip successfully ran for and won office while pregnant after having just previously had twins and observed, "She’s a proven vote-getter."

Democrats link Pilip to Santos, ignore her denouncement and resignation demands

NBC News reported that Pilip's nomination as a Republican to run in the Feb. 13 special election to replace ex-Rep. Santos was confirmed by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"Mazi Pilip is a formidable candidate with a unique biography: a former IDF paratrooper and mother of seven," Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), chair of the NRCC, said in a statement. "Mazi’s incredible life stands in stark contrast to career politician Tom Suozzi, who uses his office to make life better for himself instead of his community."

Of course, Democrats were quick to launch partisan attacks against Pilip and attempted to smear her for having "recently campaigned with MAGA extremist Mike Johnson and previously endorsed serial fraudster George Santos."

The Times, however, reported that Pilip had denounced Santos, called for his resignation, and supported his expulsion after the breadth and depth of his dishonesty were revealed, and lamented how "uncomfortable" the situation made her feel in a recent interview, and said, "I trusted him and I told people to vote for him. I campaigned with him. And so when you do something like this, and then keep every day there’s something new coming about him."

Latest News

© 2024 - Patriot News Alerts