George Santos expelled: What happens to his House seat?

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The House of Representatives voted to remove New York Republican Rep. George Santos from his post on Friday due to federal indictment charges. 

Here’s what happens to Santos’s seat now:

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a special election on Friday, just hours after she wrote a post on X claiming she was ‘prepared to undertake the solemn responsibility of filling the vacancy in New York’s 3rd District,’ leading people to believe she would pick someone herself instead holding an election.

In her later statement, Hochul clarified she was ‘prepared to undertake the solemn responsibility of filling the vacancy in New York’s 3rd District by scheduling a special election. The people of Long Island and Queens deserve nothing less.’

Hochul had 10 days from the time of Santos’s expulsion to call a special election. 

Joe Burns, a New York Republican Election Attorney and former state board of elections official, told Fox News Digital in an interview Friday that the date of a special election should be within 70 to 80 days from the date of the governor’s proclamation, which places the approximate date to early next year. 

‘The other point of significance is how the candidates get on the ballot, because it’s a special election,’ Burns said. ‘There’s no ability for a primary.’

As such, Burns said nominations for the election are made according to the rules of four recognized parties: Democrat, Republican, Conservative, and the minority party in the state called Working Families. 

The nominations are determined differently for each party; for instance, for the Republican nomination in a multi-county district, county chairs cast weighted votes based on previous votes for that office. Similar nomination processes apply to the other parties, and nominations must be made and filed within 10 days of the official proclamation for a special election.

‘The parties don’t really have a lot of time to dilly-dally on making a choice,’ Burns said. ‘There is an option for an independent candidate to run, but they have to go and circulate petitions…  I can’t think in all my time of being involved between being an attorney in private practice or working with the board of an instance where an independent candidate has gotten on the ballot for Congress for a special election — so, I think that’s highly unlikely.’

How is a House member expelled? 

Ousting a member of Congress takes a two-thirds majority vote. The last time a House lawmaker was expelled was more than two decades ago, when late former Rep. Jim Traficant, D-Ohio, was voted out of Congress in 2002.

Prior to his ousting, Traficant had been convicted of 10 felony counts, including racketeering and taking bribes. 

Santos has not been convicted of a crime, but he has been indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, falsification of records, credit card fraud and other charges. He has pleaded not guilty. Santos has been accused of using campaign funds to purchase luxury goods, treatments such as Botox, and a subscription to porn site OnlyFans. 

The 311 to 114 vote was strongly bipartisan, although slightly more Republicans voted to keep Santos than to oust him.

Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman in the 2022 election for New York’s 3rd Congressional District.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.

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