George Santos
George Santos David Becker

The special election to replace former Congressman George Santos has began in New York's 3rd district, with Democrats gunning for the seat as they seek to reduce Republicans' already slim majority in the House of Representatives.

Early voting began last Saturday and the election day has been set for Tuesday, February 13. Democrats nominated former Representative Tom Suozzi, while Mazi Melesa Pilip is representing Republicans.

Axios' bios of both candidates indicate that Pilip was born in Ethiopia and emigrated to Israel at the age of 12, moving to the U.S. after serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (something mandatory for most of those who live in the country between the ages of 18 and 21) and graduating college.

Pilip was a registered Democrat for over a decade before running for Nassau County legislator as a Republican in 2021. She was re-elected in 2023.

Suozzi, on his end, left his seat at the state's 3rd congressional district to run an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign against Kathy Hochul in 2022. He was replaced by Santos and will now look to reclaim the swing seat for Democrats.

Republicans currently have a 219-212 lead in the House, with four vacancies, Santos' included. He was ousted in December after House Ethics Committee released a report detailing that Santos violated campaign finance laws during his election campaign.

The House of Representatives voted 311 to 114 in favor of expelling Santos from office. Santos was elected to the House in November 2022 after defeating Democrat Robert Zimmerman, but is now facing 23 federal indictments for a slew of charges ranging from conspiracy, wire fraud and defrauding campaign donors.

According to the Department of Justice, the charges stem from fraud committed during the 2022 election cycle. Santos is accused of misleading the Federal Election Commission and the National Republican Party committee by producing falsified financial documents with inflated campaign fundraising numbers.

Another indictment alleges that Santos stole money from his contributors' credit cards. According to the DoJ, he attempted to charge a contributor's credit card for $44,800. In another instance, he transferred $12,000 from a different contributor's credit card to his personal bank account. The stolen money was labeled as donations from his family.

Even before the charges came to light, Santos was under immense pressure from his Capitol Hill colleagues for allegedly lying about his work experience and about his connection to the Holocaust, as well as cheating a homeless veteran out of thousands of dollars that were donated to cover medical expenses for his service dog. He was also accused of sexual misconduct by a former aide.

Even though his time as representative is over, his stop at the limelight in the American zeitgeist is not, as HBO announced its producing a movie based on the disgraced former New York Representative.

The streaming network announced that Frank Rich, the producer behind the political satire show Veep, will produce the HBO film.

According to The Guardian, the film will be based on Mark Chiusano's book The Fabulist: The Lying, Hustling, Grifting, Stealing, and Very American Legend of George Santos. Simon & Schuster, the book's publishers, describe The Fabulist as a "stranger than fiction" book that focuses on the lead-up to Santos' 2022 election win.

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