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Tom Suozzi chosen as Democratic candidate in special election for George Santos' congressional seat

New York Democrats nominate Tom Suozzi to run in special election
New York Democrats nominate Tom Suozzi to run in special election 00:27

MINEOLA, N.Y. -- Tom Suozzi has been tapped by the Democrats to run in the special election to fill George Santos now-vacant seat. 

Suozzi previously represented New York's Congressional District 3 before running against Gov. Kathy Hochul in last year's gubernatorial race. 

He met with the governor Wednesday to seek her approval. 

"Our responsibility is to take back the House of Representatives from the Santos-type Republican Party," Hochul said. "That was an important conversation to clear the air in one respect, so it was his interest to make sure the conversation went well."

The governor set the special election for just prior to Presidents Day. That means voters will spend 70 more days without a representative.

Nassau County and New York State Democratic Chair Jay S. Jacobs and Queens County Democratic Chair Rep. Gregory Meeks released a joint statement saying in part:

"Tom Suozzi has a proven record of fighting for his constituents, fighting to safeguard our suburban way of life here on Long Island and Queens and always advocating for sensible solutions to the real challenges affecting everyday average Americans.  We look forward to working with the Suozzi Campaign, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to restore integrity, competence, and a focus on the real needs of our larger community in the Third Congressional District."

Suozzi released the following statement:

"The folks from Massapequa and Levittown to the north shore of Nassau, to northeast Queens deserve better. I will work day and night with both parties to deliver for the people to make living here more affordable, safer, and better. I delivered for this district before, and I will do it again by putting you ahead of partisanship. Let's reject the nonsense and get back to work. Let's Fix This!"

Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Cairo is expected announce the Republican choice to run against Suozzi early next week. 

The winner of the special election will serve out the remainder of Santos' two-year term and would need to run again next November for a full term.

Why did Santos face expulsion? 

Santos faced scrutiny after winning in the 2022 midterm elections when media outlets uncovered a series of lies he told about his background.

In May, the Justice Department announced 13 federal charges against him. Those charges included wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress.

In the May indictment, prosecutors claimed Santos induced campaign donors to contribute to a limited liability company and then he used that money for his personal expenses. Some of the items he allegedly spent the money on include designer clothing, and payments on his credit card and car. Santos also allegedly applied for unemployment insurance during the pandemic, even though he earned $120,000 from an investment firm. Prosecutors also said Santos misled Congress on disclosure statements related to his congressional campaign. 

Santos has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. He's expected to face trial in September.

While Santos survived expulsion votes after the charges were announced, the final vote came on the heels of a House Ethics Committee report, which said it found "substantial evidence" of Santos using campaign money for personal expenses

Santos told CBS New York's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer he thinks he got hooked up with what he calls some "bad people" and his next step is to try to rehabilitate his image and try to atone for the things that have happened.

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