It’s looking like Rep. George Santos could be toast before many Americans polish off their Thanksgiving leftovers.
The embattled Long Island lawmaker Monday was facing longer odds of remaining in Congress as support grows for a motion to expel him as soon as early next week.
More than 60 lawmakers who previously voted against expelling Santos reportedly now plan to support ousting him when a bill comes to the floor after the House returns next Tuesday from its Turkey Day break, Politico reported, citing its own count.
Nearly 40 of those who flipped against Santos in recent days are Republicans, raising to about 60 the number of GOP lawmakers who have said they will now support his expulsion, the news site said.
The others are Democrats, meaning about half of the 45 Democrats who backed Santos in his previous expulsion vote have now abandoned him.
It would take a two-thirds vote of the entire House to expel Santos.
With the 435-member House of Representatives almost evenly divided between the two parties, Santos would need to lose the votes of no more than about 80 or 90 fellow Republicans with almost all Democrats voting in favor of expulsion.
Tellingly, a handful of Republicans have publicly said they intend to vote against expelling Santos as lawmakers departed the nation’s capital last week.
The tide of opposition to allowing Santos to remain in office has dramatically risen since the release of a damning report from the House Ethics Committee last week.
The report said Santos looted campaign funds for dubious personal expenses like luxury goods, vacations and even the OnlyFans porn site.
Although the report did not recommend any particular punishment for Santos, Ethics Committee chairman Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., introduced a new expulsion resolution on Friday. Several members of the panel said they would vote to expel him after previously avoiding a stand.
Santos last week vowed not to seek reelection in 2024, a move that may have been calculated at winning enough GOP support to stay in office until then.
The effort to oust him has been spearheaded by fellow first-term Republican lawmakers from New York. Democrats say they will use him as a poster boy for GOP corruption in the era of former President Donald Trump, whom Santos praises as a political hero.
A key wild card is the position of the Republican House leadership, which have so far opposed the expulsion effort.
House Speaker Mike Johnson has not taken a position on Santos since the ethics report dropped and has previously said he should be ousted only if he is convicted or pleads guilty to a crime.
The GOP holds a narrow nine-vote edge in the House, meaning losing Santos would be a serious political blow.
If Santos resigns or is expelled, a special election would be called to fill the seat. Democrats would be favored, although the race could be competitive, especially since Republicans have made inroads on Long Island.
Aside from his political problems, Santos faces very serious legal woes. He has been hit with a total of 23 federal criminal counts covering some of the same alleged campaign finance improprieties, along with fraud counts like a COVID-19 unemployment benefits scam.