The House vote to expel George Santos
The House vote to expel George Santos (Still from U.S. House live feed)

By a vote of 311–114, the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives today vot­ed to expel Repub­li­can George San­tos, a con artist and fraud­ster who was elect­ed to the House a lit­tle over a year ago from New York’s 3rd Dis­trict. San­tos is just the sixth per­son to be forcibly removed from the House in its cen­turies-long existence.

Near­ly all Democ­rats and a good num­ber of Repub­li­cans vot­ed to get rid of San­tos, mak­ing his expul­sion pos­si­ble. Sev­er­al pre­vi­ous expul­sion attempts had failed, but this one came in the wake of a blis­ter­ing report from the House Ethics Com­mit­tee which doc­u­ment­ed crimes by San­tos. (San­tos has also been crim­i­nal­ly charged by the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and claims the charges are baseless.)

“In May, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors charged Mr. San­tos on 13 felony counts large­ly tied to finan­cial fraud,” The New York Times report­ed. “That indict­ment focused on three schemes iden­ti­fied by pros­e­cu­tors; Mr. San­tos plead­ed not guilty. In Octo­ber, pros­e­cu­tors accused Mr. San­tos of new crim­i­nal schemes relat­ed to his 2022 cam­paign; he plead­ed not guilty again. He has also repeat­ed­ly denied any crim­i­nal activ­i­ty, includ­ing after the House Ethics report’s release.”

San­tos did­n’t stick around to find out his fate, choos­ing to leave instead.

“As unof­fi­cial­ly already no longer a mem­ber of Con­gress, I no longer have to answer a sin­gle ques­tion. That is the one thing that I’m going to take for­ev­er,” San­tos huffed. (He does have a Fifth Amend­ment pro­tec­tion against self-incrim­i­na­tion, but he’s not going to be off the hook for his mis­deeds, even if he choos­es not to answer any more ques­tions from anyone.)

Speak­er Mike John­son and oth­er top Repub­li­cans opposed the expul­sion of San­tos, mak­ing it clear they’d rather have a fraud­ster remain among their ranks rather than lose a vote from their already slim majority.

How­ev­er, they did not whip the vote to expel Santos.

“While John­son and his lead­er­ship team are not for­mal­ly whip­ping against the lat­est expul­sion push, describ­ing it as a vote of con­science, oth­er House Repub­li­cans on the fence are cer­tain to take cues from lead­er­ship,” Politi­co report­ed pri­or to the vote. “It’s not clear that there are enough votes to meet the two-thirds thresh­old need­ed to eject Santos.”

But in the end, there were enough votes.

San­tos’ fel­low New York Repub­li­cans have helped lead the charge. They had con­clud­ed that their 2024 elec­toral for­tunes will be improved with San­tos gone.

“He should have resigned. It shouldn’t have come to this. But it is. And now we’re going to actu­al­ly allow the third dis­trict to elect a rep­re­sen­ta­tive. Some­one that they can trust. Some­one that they know,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Antho­ny D’E­s­pos­i­to, who rep­re­sents the 4th Dis­trict and fre­quent­ly crit­i­cizes Santos.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as follows:

Vot­ing for expul­sion: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land (WA), Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Sali­nas (OR), Mary Pel­to­la (AK); Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house (WA), Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRe­mer (OR), Mike Simp­son (ID), Ryan Zinke (MT)

Vot­ing against expul­sion: Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher (ID), Matt Rosendale (MT)

Not vot­ing: Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers (WA)

Ultra MAGA Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Matt Rosendale were the only rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the greater Pacif­ic North­west to oppose expulsion.

Also among the 112 Repub­li­cans vot­ing nay were Lau­ren Boe­bert, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Nan­cy Mace, Chip Roy, and Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene.

Only New York Repub­li­cans besides San­tos vot­ed with him: Elise Ste­fanik and Clau­dia Ten­ney. Ste­fanik is a Trump-ador­ing mem­ber of leadership.

For­mer Speak­er Kevin McCarthy skipped the vote along with McMor­ris Rodgers and six oth­er mem­bers of the House, includ­ing Dean Phillips and Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez. (Phillips is chal­leng­ing Joe Biden for President.)

A spe­cial elec­tion must now be held to pick a suc­ces­sor to San­tos. Vacan­cies in the House can­not be filled by appoint­ment, unlike Sen­ate vacancies.

I am pre­pared to under­take the solemn respon­si­bil­i­ty of fill­ing the vacan­cy in New York’s 3rd Dis­trict. The peo­ple of Long Island deserve noth­ing less,” New York Gov­er­nor Kathy Hochul tweet­ed. By that, she means she will be pre­pared to call a spe­cial elec­tion, because she does­n’t get to make an appointment. 

New York Democ­rats are like­ly to nom­i­nate San­tos’ pre­de­ces­sor Tom Suozzi in the spe­cial elec­tion. Repub­li­cans have sev­er­al can­di­dates to choose from and it’s not yet clear which one of them will get the nod. The spe­cial elec­tion is like­ly be held in sev­er­al weeks’ time, around mid­win­ter or short­ly thereafter.

As for San­tos, we say good rid­dance. After he answers for his alleged crimes, he deserves his own episode of Amer­i­can Greed on CNBC.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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