As George Santos exited the U.S. Capitol in the moments after his expulsion on Friday, he declared he was done with Congress just 11 months after taking office.

“Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place,” Santos told reporters as he made his way to a waiting SUV.

But while he may be gone from the House of Representatives, Santos has not forgiven nor forgotten the colleagues there who voted to make him only the sixth House member in U.S. history to be removed from the chamber. He spent the first hours attacking the New York Republicans who voted him out as they seek reelection in a tough electoral environment in 2024.

What You Need To Know

  • Former Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y.,  pledged to file ethics complaints on Monday against three New York Republicans and a New Jersey Democrat while attacking other members on social media

  • As of early Monday evening, Santos had not yet said if the ethics complaints had been filed and a spokesperson for the House Committee on Ethics declined to comment
  • What's next for Santos? Instead of running for reelection, Santos has said he will exact revenge on his enemies as he waits to mount a defense in his criminal case

  • One Democratic strategist working on the special election to replace Santos told Spectrum News that they expect former Rep. Tom Suozzi to be named by the state Democratic party as their candidate

He pledged to file ethics complaints, like the one that ultimately convinced enough of his colleagues to join the two-thirds majority needed to approve the expulsion, on Monday against three New York Republicans and a New Jersey Democrat while attacking other members on social media. As of early Monday evening, Santos had not yet said if the ethics complaints had been filed and a spokesperson for the House Committee on Ethics declined to comment.

His targets were Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who represents parts of Brooklyn and all of Staten Island; Hudson Valley Rep. Mike Lawler and fellow Long Island Rep. Nick LaLota. Lawler and LaLota were among the freshmen GOP members from New York who helped lead over 100 of their colleagues in voting with nearly all Democrats to remove Santos. Facing a tough reelection next year in districts President Joe Biden won handedly in 2020, they want nothing to do with Santos, who Democrats have continued to use to slam New York Republicans despite most being critical of him since before he even took office.

“Vulnerable New York Republicans are attempting to distance themselves from Santos to salvage their poor re-election chances, but we will continue to ensure that New Yorkers are reminded of how they repeatedly protected Santos after promising to hold him accountable,” said Alisha Heng, a New York spokesperson for House Majority PAC, a group associated with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.

Santos also said he planned to file an ethics complaint against New Jersey Rep. Rob Menendez, a Democrat and the son of New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who has been charged with accepting bribes to benefit the Egyptian government (the elder Menendez has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing). The younger Menendez has not been implicated in his father’s case, but Santos baselessly insinuated he may have been aware of the alleged crimes.

A spokesperson for Rob Menendez said “George Santos is neither Rep. Menendez’s colleague nor a constituent so we will not expend any energy responding to his Botox-fueled fits of rage.” In the report about Santos produced by the House ethics committee, investigators accused Santos of spending stolen funds on Botox and a subscription to OnlyFans, a service that hosts adult content.

As for New York Republicans, Santos accused Malliotakis of insider trading, Lawler of funneling campaign funds into his own pocket and LaLota of no-showing at a board of elections job on Long Island while attending law school. Notably, Santos faces 23 federal criminal charges in New York, including for wire fraud, identity theft, lying to federal election officials, money laundering and stealing thousands of charges.

“Being attacked by a serial liar and con man like George Santos is a badge of honor,” Lawler’s spokesperson Nate Soule said in an email, pointing to a City & State NY report from last year about him paying a firm he founded with campaign funds. Soule said the then-candidate cleared the arrangement with the Federal Election Commission and “no longer plays a role in the firm.” The FEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for Malliotakis said Santos was “a scorned and known serial liar” and said the stock trade in question, which came under scrutiny before, was handled by a financial adviser. Her last trade was in March, contradicting Santos description of her as a member of Congress with “an active trading habit.”

And a LaLota spokesperson dismissed Santos’ allegation that the congressman was no-showing at a Suffolk County Board of Elections job while attending law school at Hofstra University prior to running for Congress.

"George is just mad the Congressman has three actual degrees while he lied about having one," LaLota’s spokesperson Will Kiley said in an email. Santos has admitted to lying about his education, professional experience, heritage and other key aspects of his biography 

What's next for Santos?

Instead of running for reelection, Santos has said he will exact revenge on his enemies as he waits to mount a defense in his criminal case.

“My community service will be to clean up Congress of its corrupt frauds in a Bipartisan way,” Santos’ bio on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, now reads. “My road to redemption will be serving the American people!”

Santos faces 20 years in prison, if convicted.

And after losing his congressional salary, the self-admitted fabulist accused of lying about his personal wealth and stealing donors’ credit card information is seeking new sources of income. On Monday, he debuted a profile on Cameo, a service that allows people to buy custom video messages from celebrities and other notable figures. Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., ended up buying one to belittle Rob Menendez. And, at first, Santos charged $75 a video, according to Semafor. By Monday evening, he was charging $200 a pop

“If you believe in what you stand for and you fight for what you do and you stand by those convictions, screw the haters. The haters are going to hate,” Santos said in a video shared on X by Nebraska state Sen. Meghan Hunt, a Democrat. “Look, they can boot me out of Congress, but they can’t take away my good humor or my larger than life personality nor my good faith and the absolute pride I have for everything I’ve done.”

The race to replace Santos

Candidates to replace Santos in a special election early next year are expected to be chosen by New York officials in the coming days. One Democratic strategist working on the race told Spectrum News that they expect former Rep. Tom Suozzi, who left the Queens and Long Island seat vacant last year to challenge Gov. Kathy Hochul in the primary, to be named by the Nassau and Queens Democratic parties as their candidate.

State party chair Jay Jacobs told the New York Post that Hochul, who beat back Suozzi’s primary challenge from her right, does not hold a grudge and would back Suozzi if she concludes he’s the best candidate for the job.

Hochul, Jeffries and Jacobs — who also runs the Nassau County Democratic Party, where much of Santos’ former district lies — are expected to play a major role in selecting the Democratic candidate. Jacobs did not immediately return a request for comment on Monday, but told Spectrum News NY1’s Errol Louis on “Inside City Hall” on Friday that Queens Rep. Gregory Meeks, the borough's party chair, will also play a significant role in the selection.

"We’re going to try to work through it together, with everyone, so we can come out of this united and focused on winning this seat back," Meeks told Spectrum News last week.

Suozzi has rolled out major union endorsements, including the Hotel Trades Council and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, both of whom hold major influence in New York politics. And on Monday, he revealed the endorsement of a bipartisan group of Long Island mayors — five Democrats and six Republicans.

“Today’s endorsement makes it clear that this race is not about Democrat vs. Republican or Republican vs. Democrat. These mayors understand that this race will be about who knows the district best and who will deliver results for the people in the 3rd Congressional District,” Suozzi said in a statement.

Santos meanwhile weighed in the race, offering his endorsement of retired NYPD detective and Republican Mike Sapraicone. Sapraicone’s campaign team told Politico he wants nothing to do with such an endorsement. Both the New York Times and the conservative magazine National Review reported that Sapraicone is among the top contenders being considered by Republican officials.

The race is expected to be flooded with national attention and cash as Democrats seek to build momentum in their pursuit of control of the House and Republicans seek to preserve their slim majority. The Jeffries-affiliated super PAC said they plan to play “a significant role” in the special election and the campaign arms of both congressional Democrats and Republicans said in statements on Monday they will be focusing on the race.

“The NRCC is monitoring the district closely in concert with state and county parties as they work to select a nominee,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Sannah Viar said in a statement. 

“Democrats will remain laser-focused on touting our work to lower costs, improve public safety, and restore trust to win back this critical seat,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Ellie Dougherty said in a statement of her own.

Though the district voted for Biden over then-President Donald Trump in 2020 by eight percentage points, experts and politicos are warning the race — particularly with a national focus — will not be a breeze for Democrats. Republicans have seen recent success on Long Island, including in local races this year and congressional races in 2022.

“Anybody who thinks this is a slam dunk for the Democratic Party because they have a former incumbent and Biden carried it by eight points, has not been keeping track of what's happened in the last couple of years,” said Lawrence Levy, the director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Long Island’s Hofstra University. “This is a fair fight district in the extreme"