The Congressional District 3 race between Democrat Robert Zimmerman and Republican George Santos was finally settled in the early hours of Wednesday, Nov. 9, with Santos being declared the winner.
Santos is poised to succeed democrat Thomas Suozzi, who held the seat since 2017 before leaving in an ultimately unsuccessful bid for governor of New York. This race marked the country’s first where both House candidates running for office are openly gay.
A first-generation American who was born in Queens, Santos graduated from Baruch College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance. He works as a Wall Street financier and investor. His time on Wall Street has provided him with experience in capital introduction, real estate, capital markets, bio-tech and many other similar subjects. He participated in landmark deals on Wall Street, eventually working his way up to being one of the youngest vice presidents in the industry.
“It is a great honor to receive the support of the families, businesses and communities of New York’s Third Congressional District,” Santos said. “Yesterday the people spoke and they chose change. Now it’s time to go deliver results for the people of New York’s 3rd District by focusing on mitigating inflation, combating crime and the ever rising cost of energy. I promised one thing throughout this entire campaign: to be your champion in DC. Thank you for this opportunity to be your voice!”
According to the New York Times, approximately 90% of the district’s votes have reported in, with Santos ahead 142,017 (54.2%) to 120,060 (45.8%). Zimmerman conceded to Santos shortly after midnight.
“When you face disappointments in life, it’s always important to count your blessings,” Zimmerman said. “So many in this congressional district are the great blessings in my life. Even more important than the results of this evening is our commitment to defend democracy and the Constitution. I called George Santos to congratulate him. I wish him well in representing our Congressional district.”
According to Zimmerman, he was unable to reach Santos or leave a message due to a full voicemail box. However, he said he intends to try calling him again Wednesday to congratulate him.
“It is so important that while our commitment and our passion never waivers, our dedication to respecting our democracy comes first,” Zimmerman said. “We know that we lead by example and that’s what makes us better than others in politics. There are no final victories or defeats in politics. Our democracy gives us the opportunity to advocate and affect change constantly. While we don’t celebrate a win tonight, we celebrate each other and always hold in our heart the commitment to the values and principles that enlighten our life. Even in defeat, we take pride in celebrating our political process and pride in celebrating our democracy in the United States of America.”
Congressional District 3 is comprised of northwestern Suffolk County and northern Nassau County on Long Island, as well as the northeast Queens neighborhoods of Bayside, Douglaston, Douglas Manor, Little Neck, Beechhurst and Whitestone.
Zimmerman emerged victorious as the Democratic nominee in a hotly contested primary election over multiple candidates, including Jon Kaiman, Joshua Lafazan, Melanie D’Arrigo and Reema Rasool, on Aug. 23. Santos was the lone Republican nominee.
Zimmerman’s career in politics dates back several decades. He worked as a senior aide for Congressmen Lester Wolff and James Scheuer before advising Representative Gary Ackerman. In the mid-1980s, he traveled with Congressman Steve Israel to the Soviet Union to help Christians and Jews flee oppression, harassment and imprisonment for practicing their faith.
He was nominated by President Clinton to serve on the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Presidential Commission on the Arts and by President Obama to serve on the National Council on the Humanities. Zimmerman is also a board member for the Center for an Urban Future, Reach Out America and the White Lotus Foundation. Additionally, he’s served on the board of the American Museum of Natural History as a government representative for 20 years. The LGBTQ Network of LI and Queens and the Long Island Progressive Coalition have both honored Zimmerman. He also served as president of Great Neck B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Congress Long Island Division.