Former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) said on Sunday he does not plan to vote in the special election next week to fill the vacancy in Congress Santos left when he was expelled.
In an interview on CNN’s “Inside Politics Sunday,” Santos told Manu Raju that he would vote for neither Democratic candidate Tom Suozzi, a former congressman, nor GOP candidate Mazi Pilip, a local legislator.
“I’ve made it very clear: I’m not voting in the race for the simple fact that I will not bring myself to vote for a registered Democrat, period. Not in this time and in the time that we’re living in. It’s just against what I believe in as far as politics go.”
Pilip is a registered Democrat, but she holds traditional Republican party viewpoints and has said she feels the Democratic Party has left her behind, CNN reported.
Still, Santos called Pilip “Republican-lite” and said he was concerned that Pilip would be adding to the Democratic majority, if she were elected.
“The reality is, is the race right now, in my view, and in the view of many conservatives, real conservatives here in the district, is there’s two Democrats on the ballot,” Santos said.
“And the option is, do we get a Democrat, or a Democrat, Republican-lite version of a Democrat? And that’s very concerning, because the reality is, if she wins, you add a Democrat seat to Congress that’s going to caucus with Republicans, which is very concerning,” he added.
Santos said he was not sure what would happen in the Feb. 13 contest, saying he would have expected Suozzi, who used to represent a variation of the now-redrawn district, to be performing better in the polls.
“Suozzi, given the popularity he’s had and his extensive work in Nassau County, Long Island, and having represented a variation of what the seat used to be, he should be doing better, but the reality is he’s not,” Santos said.
Santos was expelled from Congress on Dec. 1, 2023, in a historic vote that saw Santos become the sixth congressman ever to be ousted from the lower chamber.
The ouster came after a scathing report from the House Ethics Committee and as Santos faced federal indictment on 23 counts of wire fraud, identity theft and other campaign finance charges. He has pleaded not guilty.