Rep. George Santos.

Rep. George Santos. Credit: AFP via Getty Images/Mandel Ngan

Daily Point

CD3 special election likely in February

George Santos is likely to be expelled from Congress as early as Wednesday or Thursday, triggering the selection process for a new House candidate by Nassau County Republicans, who are increasingly optimistic about the party keeping the seat in an upcoming special election this winter.

House Speaker Mike Johnson spoke to Nassau Republican leader Joe Cairo a week after the Nov. 7 election to commend him on the party now having total control of Nassau’s three towns and two cities, as well as the county. “Anthony D’Esposito placed the call and the speaker got on to congratulate me on the results,” Cairo told The Point. D’Esposito flipped the CD4 seat red in 2022. Asked whether the men specifically discussed the special election, Cairo said, “We didn’t get into it.”

Santos’ expulsion would create an immediate vacancy under state law, starting a 10-day clock for Gov. Kathy Hochul to call for a special election. That election must take place 70 to 80 days later. Insiders are pegging the vote to take place on one of the last three Tuesdays in February — Feb. 13, 20 or 27.

With the pending holidays in December, that’s not a lot of time for the parties to select their candidate and strategize for an intense campaign that could cost as much as $20 million as the national parties seek primacy and momentum for the House elections this fall. Under state law, there are no primaries in these situations.

Democrats are expected to go with Tom Suozzi, the local Democrat with the most name recognition and the former holder of the seat who did not seek re-election in 2022 to pursue an ultimately failed effort to get the party’s gubernatorial nomination.

Republicans, however, are holding their cards a lot tighter and say they are conducting a formal interview process. Cairo said as soon as a vacancy is formalized, a committee will review what he called “15 bona fide candidates” who expressed an interest in running as the GOP nominee. Besides the beauty contest, the party is doing a deep dive into the performance of successful GOP candidates in parts of CD3, the apparent lack of resentment toward the party because of the Santos debacle, and how to build on the GOP's success in 2023.

“Suozzi’s name may give him a head start but we are going to beat him,” said Cairo.

— Rita Ciolli rita.ciolli@newsday.com

Pencil Point

Food for thought

Credit: Columbia Missourian/John Darkow

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Quick Points

Poisoned pool

  • Rep. George Santos said a House Ethics Committee report accusing him of illicit campaign activity and unlawful conduct will “poison” the jury pool in his upcoming federal criminal trial. Sorry, George, but if the pool is poisoned, you did that all by yourself.
  • Three university presidents on Long Island earned more than $1 million in 2021, nearly as much as the president of Harvard University at the time and in at least one case more than the president of Princeton. Can those of you with advanced degrees from Harvard and Princeton please explain?
  • Gen Z workers, those born between 1997 and 2012, expect to be able to retire at age 61, millennials are shooting for age 64, and boomers expect to stop working by age 68. It’s one more example of the idealism of youth and the realism that comes with longevity.
  • Former President Donald Trump says he is “seriously looking at alternatives” to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The last time Republicans tried that, in 2017, they lost control of the House the following year.
  • GOP presidential candidate and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie criticized people suggesting that GOP voters should consolidate behind either him or former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. “This idea of people just doing the math and adding up numbers, that’s not the way voters vote,” Christie said. That’s what he’s hoping, anyway, because if they did do the math, they’d consolidate behind Haley.
  • An iceberg about three times the size of New York City is drifting beyond the waters of Antarctica. It’s a potential floating traffic jam, wherever it goes.

— Michael Dobie michael.dobie@newsday.com

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