Federal Judge Joanna Seybert has announced that the fraud trial of Republican Rep. George Santos will commence on September 9, 2024. The trial is scheduled to take place more than two months after New York’s June 25 primary. While Santos is unlikely to secure his party’s nomination for the 3rd District, he faces an immediate threat to his political future. Four fellow members of New York’s GOP House delegation, namely Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, and Marc Molinaro, have introduced a resolution to expel Santos from the House. Two others, Nick Langworthy and Brandon Williams, have also expressed their desire to remove Santos from office.
These representatives, five of whom represent districts won by Joe Biden in 2020, are concerned about the potential impact of Santos’ scandals on their own political standing. In May, they voted alongside their GOP colleagues to table a similar resolution introduced by California Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia. However, this time, the combined support of these six Republicans and the 212 Democrats may be enough to prevent the House from taking the same action. Expelling Santos would require a two-thirds majority vote, a threshold that has not been met since Ohio Democratic Rep. James Traficant’s expulsion in 2002.
The 3rd District, which backed Biden by a margin of 54-45 in 2020, presents an opportunity for Democrats to flip the seat in a special election, further eroding the GOP’s slim House majority. Speaker Mike Johnson emphasized the importance of due process and stated that Santos is entitled to it. Even if Santos is not expelled, a special election may still be on the horizon if he accepts a plea deal that would likely require his resignation. In such a scenario, party leaders in Suffolk and Queens counties would select their respective nominees. Former Rep. Tom Suozzi, Santos’ Democratic predecessor, may have an advantage due to his connections with party leaders.