Clock Ticking for Santos as Expulsion Vote Looms

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) heads to attend a vote Nov. 1 on whether the House of Representatives will expel him, after he was indicted on 23 federal corruption charges. (Reuters/Julia Nikhinson)

(Daily News/TNS) — The clock is ticking on Rep. George Santos’s congressional career as a vote looms on the embattled lawmaker’s expulsion in the coming days.

The Long Island Republican could face a fresh vote to boot him from office as early as Wednesday, as the House of Representatives returns from its Thanksgiving break.

Santos admitted over the holiday weekend that he believes he will be ousted after the recent release of an Ethics Committee report that accused him of using his congressional campaign as his personal piggy bank.

He would be the first lawmaker since the Civil War-era to be expelled from the House without being convicted of a crime.

The disgraced lawmaker has scheduled a press conference for Thursday but it’s not clear what the topic might be, especially since an expulsion vote could come before then.

He warned that he could divulge undisclosed dirt on fellow lawmakers if they vote him out, accusing unnamed colleagues from both parties of voting while drunk.

Republican leaders released a schedule for House votes that did not include the Santos expulsion, although it could still take place.

If Santos is expelled, Gov. Kathy Hochul would have 10 days to call a special election for the seat representing the NY-3 district spanning Long Island’s North Shore and a slice of eastern Queens.

Under New York state law, the election would have to be held between 70 and 80 days after Hochul’s proclamation, meaning a vote to fill the seat could be held in mid to late February.

The candidates who would vie in a special election would be picked by party committees, not primary elections.

On the Democratic side, former Rep. Tom Suozzi would be the likely frontrunner, although he angered some local activists by abandoning the seat to mount a failed run for governor. Ex-state Sen. Anna Kaplan is also running.

For Republicans, state Sen. Jack Martins is probably the best-known name but he has not said if he will run. Air Force veteran Kellen Curry has been running as a fresh face amid the Santos drama while retired NYPD Detective Mike Sapraicone has raised the most cash so far.

Mazi Pilip, an Ethiopian Jewish immigrant, is coming off a victory in an off-year election for a Nassau County legislative seat that encompasses a large chunk of the district.

National Democrats are bullish on their chances of flipping back the seat, which Santos won in a big upset in 2022 after President Joe Biden carried it by about 10% in 2020.

But Republicans are optimistic that local recent electoral trends benefitting the GOP will give them an edge despite the stench of Santos.

Regardless of the expulsion drama, Santos faces a 23-count federal criminal indictment on campaign finance and fraud charges. He has a trial scheduled in 2024 and insists he is not guilty.

Shortly after winning election, Santos was forced to admit concocting most of his life story, including his work and education background.

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