A special election to fill the House seat vacated after Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) was expelled from Congress will be held on Feb. 13, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced on Tuesday.
Whoever wins the special election will serve the rest of Santos’s term, which ends in January 2025.
Santos was expelled from the chamber last Friday following the publication of a scathing House Ethics Committee report that accused him of an array of crimes and ethical lapses, many of which first came to light after he was found to have fabricated key parts of his biography. The ethics report also found “substantial evidence” that Santos knowingly violated ethics guidelines, House rules and criminal laws.
Santos is the sixth lawmaker to be expelled from the chamber, and the first to be removed without having been convicted of a crime.
Santos also faces 23 federal criminal counts, including fraud, money laundering, falsifying records and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Santos has long denied wrongdoing and for months resisted calls to resign, claiming at a news conference last Thursday that fellow House members were “bullying” him and that the Ethics Committee report was incomplete and “littered with hyperbole.”
Under New York law, Hochul was required to call for a special election within 10 days of the vacancy of Santos’s seat, and that special election must be held between 70 and 80 days after the governor’s call.
“I am prepared to undertake the solemn responsibility of filling the vacancy in New York’s 3rd District,” Hochul wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, after Santos was expelled. “The people of Long Island deserve nothing less.”
Former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) — who represented New York’s 3rd District in the House before Santos and left the seat to run an unsuccessful campaign for New York governor — has already said he will run for his old seat in the special election, and in the regular election in November 2024. Santos, meanwhile, has already endorsed retired New York police detective Mike Sapraicone to replace him in the special election.
“He’s a former cop. A business leader. And has the fundraising and infrastructure to go head to head with Suozzi and show the whole country NY-3 is a GOP stronghold,” Santos said on X on Sunday. “Let the race [begin].”
Per New York law, there are no primaries during special elections, which means local parties chose their nominees.
Even before Santos’s expulsion, the campaign for his seat in 2024 had already attracted several candidates on both sides of the aisle. The vacancy gives Democrats a chance to flip the seat as the parties fight for the House majority in 2024. Joe Biden won Santos’s district by more than 10 percentage points in 2020. Beyond Santos’s district, Democrats are also eyeing seats in the state that they lost to moderate Republicans in 2022 — many of whom led the charge inside the House to expel Santos.