Santos expelled: What’s next for New York’s 3rd Congressional District?


Santos expelled: What’s next for New York’s 3rd Congressional District?

05:57

NEW YORK – In an historic move, George Santos was thrown out of Congress Friday.

The House voted 311 to 114 to expel him, far surpassing the two-thirds majority required under the Constitution. Santos had survived two previous votes attempting to expel him. The first two efforts happened after he was indicted by the Justice Department in May, and then charged again with a superseding indictment in October.  

Friday’s vote happened after the release of a scathing report by the House Ethics Committee

Santos had said he expected Friday’s vote to pass, and he would be thrown out. 

Santos has been expelled, what happens next?

Now that Santos has been expelled, it triggers a special election to replace him in New York’s 3rd Congressional District. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul has 10 days to set the date for a special election, which would then be held about six weeks later. 

“I am prepared to undertake the solemn responsibility of filling the vacancy in New York’s 3rd District,” the governor posted on social media after the vote. “The people of Long Island deserve nothing less.”

“When you look at his lack of ethics, and the fact that he has not served the people of our state – particularly New York 3, where he resides – it has been an abysmal run for him, and he has not done what he had to do for New Yorkers, and I’m glad he’s gone,” Hochul said. “George Santos just took up space.” 

Democrats and Republicans would each pick a candidate to go head-to-head in what’s expected to be a hotly contested election, with national implications. 

The special election has to happen within 70 days. There will be no primary.

That means the 3rd Congressional District seat will remain vacant for at least two months because the governor has no power to appoint somebody to a Congressional seat.


Who might run to replace former representative George Santos?

03:03

So who might run to replace Santos? 

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is pushing for former Rep. Tom Suozzi, CBS New York’s Marcia Kramer reported, because he was a member of Congress and Democrats believe Suozzi’s name recognition will help him in a head-to-head race.

“In the Republican side, it’s a little more complicated. But I’m told that the Nassau County Republican Chairman Joe Cairo actually gave a wave-by to the Republicans from Long Island to try to get rid of Santos, because he thinks that the district being redrawn gives the Republicans a good chance of holding the seat,” Kramer said. 

One GOP name that has emerged: Former St. Sen. Jack Martins who Kramer described as “well-known” and “well-liked.” 

“He has been reticent, but it could be that they could impose on him to run in a special election, and then in a general election there would be a lot of other people,” Kramer said.

What about the importance of this special election?

“There’s this really, really tight margin in the House now between the Republicans and Democrats. In New York, there’s clearly going to be a redistricting that’s going to be ordered by the state court of appeals. The Republicans are worried about holding six Republican seats, and they needed to get rid of him in order to not have that hanging over them when they’re running for reelection,” Kramer said. 

Former Rep. Steve Israel said he does not expect the redistricted line will be drawn in time for the special election, but will get done by the general. 

“So not only do we not have a congressman in New York 3, and not only do we not have candidates in New York 3, we don’t even know what New York 3 will look like in the long term,” Israel said. 

Santos faced scrutiny after winning in the 2022 midterm elections when media outlets uncovered a series of lies he told about his background

In May, the Justice Department announced 13 federal charges against him. Those charges included wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress.

In the May indictment, prosecutors claimed Santos induced campaign donors to contribute to a limited liability company and then he used that money for his personal expenses. Some of the items he allegedly spent the money on include designer clothing, and payments on his credit card and car. Santos also allegedly applied for unemployment insurance during the pandemic, even though he earned $120,000 from an investment firm. Prosecutors also said Santos misled Congress on disclosure statements related to his congressional campaign. 


What is the political impact of George Santos’ expulsion?

03:22

In October, Santos was charged with 10 more counts, including wire fraud, making false statements to the FEC, falsifying records, and identity theft, among other charges. 

Santos has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. He’s expected to face trial in September. 

While Santos survived expulsion votes after the charges were announced, Friday’s vote comes on the heels of the House Ethics Committee report, which said it found “substantial evidence” of Santos using campaign money for personal expenses.