What Happens to George Santos’ House Seat After His Expulsion?

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Updated: | Originally published:

George Santos became the sixth member of Congress to be expelled from the House of Representatives on Friday. Now voters in his district will finally have an opportunity to replace the alleged fraudster.

His removal leaves the seat vacant, temporarily tightening the already-slim Republican majority in the House and giving Democrats two opportunities to flip the battleground Third District in 2024. 

The first opportunity will be a special election to fill the seat through January 2025. New York Governor Kathy Hochul must announce the date of the special election within ten days, and the election must take place 70 to 80 days after that. Instead of holding typical primaries, county party leaders will choose the candidates for the special election. The winner of that race will finish Santos’ term.

Voters in the Long Island-based district will vote again on who should represent them in the House in the regular election next November. The already-crowded race gives party bosses on both sides of the aisle numerous options to choose as their pick for the special election. 

Both races are likely to be among the most closely watched in the country next year.

Nassau County Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs previously told ABC News that several candidates are in consideration for the special election, including Santos’ predecessor, Tom Suozzi, who is considered the party’s frontrunner in the regular election. Jacobs also mentioned former state Senator Anna Kaplan, who is also already running in the regular primary, and Robert Zimmerman, who lost the general election to Santos last year in a district that backed Biden in 2020. Jacobs has stressed that the party needs a “moderate” candidate to win back the seat. 

On the Republican side, more than a dozen candidates are in consideration for the special election. Among the Republicans already running for the seat are Kellen Curry, a veteran who has earned the endorsements of some members of Congress and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Retired NYPD detective Michael Sapraicone boasts similarly impressive fundraising and is considered a likely pick for the special election, while Nassau County legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip may also be under consideration.

The House Majority PAC, which is aligned with House Democratic leadership, will be among he outside groups likely to invest in the race to fill the seat. “House Majority PAC plans to play a significant role in the NY-03 special election, and we will do whatever it takes to flip this district blue," says Mike Smith, the super PAC's president.

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