The ‘scandal penalty’ that George Santos could impose on NY-03

The Republican in Tuesday’s special election in New York isn’t just running against a Democrat — she’s running against the stench of scandal from ousted Rep. George Santos.

History suggests Mazi Melesa Pilip, the Republican, has a built-in disadvantage against former Rep. Tom Suozzi, her Democratic opponent: Voters tend to penalize the party whose controversy forces a special election — by a significant margin.

The candidate running from the same party as the scandal-tarred former incumbent has performed an average of 9 points worse than the preceding general election, according to a POLITICO analysis of races dating back to 2000.

The ”scandal penalty” isn’t universal: In the two-dozen races fitting this description, the party responsible for the resignation actually ran ahead of the previous election about a third of time. But more often than not, voters know why the special election is happening — and they punish the party responsible for it.

And sometimes, those who resign in disgrace see their districts

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