Incoming House Republican George Santos may not make it


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There’s still a lot of debate – much of it missing the point – about what went wrong for Democrats in New York State in the 2022 midterms. Most of the blame is being heaped on Governor Kathy Hochul, but she won by six points. If anything, the slew of obviously phony last minute Republican polls, which falsely showed Hochul and Lee Zeldin tied, appeared to motivate New York Republicans to turn out for the Governor race, and that extra push tilted some of the closest House races toward the Republicans.

In any case, one of the surprise winners in New York was a Republican House candidate in Long Island named George Santos. He ended up winning by ten points in what was supposed to have been a toss up race, which raises even more doubt about how any of this could have possibly been related to Hochul slightly underperforming. In any case, Santos may now be wishing he hadn’t won.

Santos claimed during the campaign that he had worked at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. But now the New York Times is reporting that neither of these companies has ever heard of him. Santos has also claimed that he graduated from Baruch College in 2010, but – you guessed it – that college says it has no record of anyone matching his description having graduated that year. The New York Times also reports that his tax exempt animal rescue group may not exist. He also reportedly got evicted multiple times just a few years ago, before suddenly claiming to own a bunch of rental properties. The whole story is just bizarre.

Perhaps Santos will be able to come up with a good explanation for all of this. We’ll see. But if he can’t explain any of this, it would point to him either being a pathological liar who makes things up for no reason, or a guy whose entire life has been one big scandal and coverup. Either of those explanations could get ugly for him really quickly.

Santos could try to stick it out and enter Congress in January and face the endless questions that are surely coming his way. Or he could decide to resign and quickly disappear from public view, in the hope that the media will stop caring about him and stop digging up whatever else he might be hiding. Well, you can’t technically resign from a House seat you haven’t taken yet, but you get the drift.

One key question going forward will be whether the media keeps up the focus on Santos’ bizarre scandals, or whether the media gets distracted and allows Santos to merely become one of the numerous obscure House members who never do end up having a national profile. Already the Washington Post seems to be blaming the Democrats for not having blown open the Santos scandal before the election, which doesn’t inspire confidence in the media’s willingness to see this through. Perhaps the media should be asking why it didn’t uncover this scandal before the election; perhaps it was too busy yelling “red wave” to bother doing its job. In any case we’ll see what the media does with this story in the coming days, and whether the heat on Santos will become too much for him to bear.

Of course House Republicans are already set to have the kind of tiny minority that looks to be untenable, given their unstable membership and lack of leadership. So the last thing they’d want is for Santos to bail before he can even take office, even if they do have to put up with his scandals. But at this rate, he might decide that he doesn’t want to try sticking it out. So for all we know, we could be looking at a special election to replace him. At this rate it’s anyone’s guess how this will end. What a mess!

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