This story was updated at 12:25 p.m.
George Santos has become the first congressman to be expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives without first being convicted of a felony since the Civil War. And he is the first Republican.
More than 300 of his colleagues from both sides of the political aisle voted for his ouster, while another 114 voted against it. Predictions prior to the vote were that the results would be close, since Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, a constitutional attorney, had said on Wednesday that he would not vote for Santos’ expulsion, advising members to “vote your conscience.”
Many Republicans who had voted against Santos’ expulsion on two other occasions said they would support expulsion now based on the House Ethics Committee report.
The scathing 56-page report released on Nov. 16 details evidence Santos broke federal laws, stole from his campaign and delivered a “constant series of lies” to voters and donors on his way to winning a seat in the House of Representatives.
But when Johnson revealed he would vote against expulsion there were some predictions from other media sources that Santos would not be expelled.
After the vote, Santos rushed to his car in an attempt to avoid the throng of press, but according to the Washington Post he did say, "You know what? As unofficially already no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer a single question to you guys."
Annette Capobianco, of Glen Cove, said she was in favor of Santos’ expulsion based on his lack of ethics. “He symbolizes all the wrong things,” she said. “My feelings are that most politicians are out for themselves. They’re not out for the people, which are people like me.”
Claire Seeley, an employee at Oyster Bay’s Theodore's Books said she was relieved that Santos would no longer represent her district.
“It's more embarrassing for us as Long Islanders than anything,” Seeley said. "There's just so many (lies) that none of them stand out anymore."
There will be a special election to fill Santos’ congressional seat, which represents Long Island's North Shore, as well as parts of Queens.
The State of New York requires Gov. Kathy Hochul to issue a proclamation for a special election within 10 days. Members of the county Democratic and Republican party committees will then nominate a candidate to run. The election will occur between 70 to 80 days.
Ed Lieberman, a lawyer and former Sea Cliff mayor, said he can’t help but continue to wonder why it took so long for Santos to be expelled. But he is pleased it has finally happened.
"I applaud those House members, Republicans included who had the moral turpitude to vote in the affirmative to expel," he said.
Michael Hinman, Will Sheeline and Roksana Amid contributed to this story.