New York Democrats are licking their chops at the possibility of a special election in Long Island should freshman GOP Rep. George Santos be forced from Congress — while Republicans are girding for the worst.
Santos’ victory in the Queens/North Shore district — one of the biggest Republican upsets in the nation during the 2022 midterms — quickly became a morass after news broke that the fresh-faced Congressman was a serial liar.
Santos now faces a swirl of questions about his financial disclosures — and the origins of a $705,000 loan he made to his campaign.
“I am pretty confident that in either a matter of weeks or couple of months that Mr. Santos is going to have to vacate his seat because of the ongoing investigations into his finances,” New York Democratic party boss Jay Jacobs told The Post.
Jacobs said Democrats would seize back the seat and that potential aspirants were already lining up. Unlike primaries, candidates for special elections in New York are selected by party leaders.
“I have heard from a few people that they have got a desire to talk about it. I have not started having any formal conversations yet,” Jacobs said.
The Dem bench of potential aspirants is deep. Robert Zimmerman, who was bested by Santos in 2022, said he had received “a great deal of encouragement” from local and national Dems to give the race another go.
People are also hitting up Tom Suozzi, who retired from the seat to run for governor, to see if he might consider getting back into the action. Suozzi declined to comment, but people close to the former congressman said he was not interested.
Dan Rosenthal, a moderate state assemblyman who already represents part of the district in Albany, has also generated buzz, with allies already publicly lobbying for him online.
“The special-election to replace #Santos will be a nationally watched race that we can’t afford to lose. Let’s pick a leader who has a proven record of getting votes on both sides of the aisle and, ahem, actually winning elections. @DanRosenthalNYC is that person,” David Greenfield, CEO of the Met Council and former city councilman, gushed on Twitter.
Republicans also see a growing chance of an upcoming special election — but are considerably less excited about it. It is widely assumed that whoever they field will spend most of the race responding to Santos fallout.
“People have approached us. People have made calls. Some have sent resumes, approximately 10 people. But we haven’t done anything nor do I intend to do anything unless there is a vacancy,” said Nassau County GOP boss Joe Cairo — who added that Santos was “done.”
“He will never receive our support again,” Cairo said.
Curtis Sliwa, the party’s 2021 mayoral nominee called Santos “a dead man walking,” saying he believed a criminal indictment would ultimately force him out.
Sliwa said party leaders had been wary of Santos and that Cairo had tried to recruit him into a primary challenge over lunch in February at Giulio Cesare in Westbury.
While Santos didn’t come up explicitly “they were exploring other options that’s for sure,” Sliwa recalled. He said he had no interest in staging a run should a special be called. State party leaders also tried to lure Andrew Giuliani into the race. The one-time gubernatorial aspirant said he was “not ruling it out” but that he was “probably more no than yes.”
Some are hoping Lee Zeldin, the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate last year whose strong showing catapulted Republicans across the state will stand up. A person close to Zeldin, however, said the idea was “not something he is considering.”
Councilwoman Vickie Paladino and Stefano Forte, a former GOP State Senate candidate have also been floated.
“It’s come up. Obviously,” Paladino’s son Thomas said. “But she’s committed to her council seat and doing the job that she was elected to do.”
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