POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

The race is already on for Santos’ New York seat as Hochul prepares to announce special election date

Dec 1, 2023, 3:00 PM

FILE - U.S. Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., holds a miniature American flag that was presented to him a...

FILE - U.S. Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., holds a miniature American flag that was presented to him as he departs federal court, Friday, June 30, 2023, in Central Islip, N.Y. Sam Miele, a former political fundraiser for Santos, was arrested Wednesday, Aug. 16, on federal charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft as part of an alleged scheme to trick donors into giving money to Santos under a false name. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(CNN) — George Santos is gone from Congress, but his disastrous tenure will not be forgotten by party leaders as they prepare for what is expected to be a fiercely contested and expensive special election to replace him in New York’s 3rd Congressional District.

Voters will not have a say in choosing the nominees; under New York’s special election rules, they will be selected by the county party leaders. The contest is expected to be slated for late February, with details to come from the office of Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is charged by law with setting the dates.

Covering parts of Queens and Nassau counties, the district had been represented by Democrats for a decade before Santos’ surprising victory in 2022. The seat became open after former Rep. Tom Suozzi’s decided to challenge Hochul in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Suozzi lost that race badly, but is now running for his old job and is now considered the favorite for the Democratic nomination for the special election. Republicans have a longer list of potential candidates to consider, with more than 20 people likely to be granted interviews, according to Nassau County GOP spokesman Mike Deery.

The special election in what is now a battleground district is already being discussed as a key bellwether ahead of the November general election. That it will take place during a key stretch of the Republican presidential primary is not expected to dampen spending or interest, given New York’s crucial role in determining the fate of the GOP’s slender House majority. The largest House Democratic super PAC has already announced plans to spend big on the race.

“House Majority PAC plans to play a significant role in the NY-03 special election,” Mike Smith, its president, told CNN. “We will do whatever it takes to flip this district blue.”

Santos was one of four Republicans in and around New York City to flip traditionally blue seats in 2022. But the backlash to his many scandals could endanger Republican momentum, which began building during local elections in 2021. All five GOP House members in districts near or neighboring the 3rd voted on Friday to expel Santos.

Hours after Santos became the third member to kicked out of office by his colleagues since the Civil War, Nassau County Republicans told CNN they were already lining up a replacement.

“We’re conducting interviews already and will continue to on Monday or Tuesday,” Deery said. “We expect to have an announcement towards the end of week.”

State Sen. Jack Martins, Nassau County lawmaker Mazi Pilip, war veteran Kellen Curry and Mike Sapraicone, a retired New York Police Department detective, are believed to be the favorites to get the nod.

On the Democratic side, Suozzi, who served three terms in the seat after eight years as Nassau County executive, is widely expected to be nominated by party leaders, multiple sources told CNN. But he’s no shoo-in, New York state Democratic Party chair Jay Jacobs told CNN.

The decision will be made by a committee of the county chairs with voters in the district, according to state party bylaws. In this case, those people are Jacobs, who also runs the Nassau County Democrats, and Rep. Gregory Meeks, the Queens County Democratic Party chairman. Jacobs said that Hochul and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklyn Democrat, will also be consulted.

He acknowledged that Suozzi’s decision to challenge Hochul in 2022, after she took over the job following former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation, did not sit well with some powerful Democrats – himself included.

“That is certainly not something that is a plus for me,” Jacobs said of his thought process regarding Suozzi and the nomination. “I happen to be friends with Tom, but I was very clear I didn’t want him running against the governor. And there were things in the campaign that I took issue with, publicly, that I didn’t agree with.”

But, he added, the decision “is not a disqualifier, by any means, as far as I’m concerned.”

Former New York state Sen. Anna Kaplan is also in the running and touted strong early fundraising numbers in a statement following Santos’ departure. Like Suozzi, she kicked off her campaign intending to challenge Santos next November. Both are expected to meet with party leaders on Friday.

No matter whom Democratic leaders choose to run in the special election, the party will hold a primary for the general election nomination.

For his part, Santos is not expected to play any role in the coming campaigns.

“It’s over,” he told CNN after the vote. “To hell with this place.”

And with that, he disappeared into a car and, per his own comments on Thursday, plans to pack up over the weekend and leave Washington soon.

The race to replace him, though, is poised to go on for much longer.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

great salt lake shown, a bill to preserve the lake has passed...

Adam Small

Utah Legislature passes massive bill aimed at helping Great Salt Lake

This bill subjects mineral extraction companies to the same rules as every other water user in Great Salt Lake Basin.

5 hours ago

possible new jazz arena shown in rendering of downtown salt lake...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Utah lawmakers pass bill for new downtown NBA/NHL arena after last-minute changes

Utah lawmakers have approved a bill that paves the way for a new arena in downtown Salt Lake that could house the Utah Jazz and a potential NHL league.

7 hours ago

Lake Powell as seen from Navajo Mountain. The Navajo Nation is asking why their request for funding...

Eric Cabrera

Navajo Nation left wondering why funding continually denied

The Navajo Nation is asking why their request for funding for a road has been denied for the last 15 years.

8 hours ago

Wednesday afternoon, a bill banning transgender-related surgery passed its first hurdle on capitol ...

Adam Small

What bills still need action on the final day of the 2024 Legislative Session

The final day of the 2024 Legislative Session has arrived and there are bills that need action in these last hours.

10 hours ago

Fields in Utah County, near Spanish Fork, on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024....

Adam Small

Utah Legislature passes criticized, generational out-of-state water bill

The bill creates a new council with authority to negotiate with nearby states to get more water into Utah.

1 day ago

president biden shown, he and former president trump are visiting the border in texas...

SEUNG MIN KIM, JILL COLVIN and COLLEEN LONG Associated Press

Biden and Trump touch down in Texas, highlighting immigration as a major election issue

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump arrived Thursday in Texas, for dueling trips to the U.S.-Mexico border in a sign of how central immigration has become to the 2024 election

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

The race is already on for Santos’ New York seat as Hochul prepares to announce special election date