GOP Rep. George Santos should step out of Congress, voters in New York say

Newly elected US Rep. George Santos (R-NY) stands alone on the floor of the US House of Representatives as he votes for a new Speaker of the House during the third day of the 118th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, United States January 5 House of Representatives votes. 2023

Evelyn Hockstein Reuters

Scandal-plagued Republican Rep. George Santos should resign from Congress, voters from his own state of New York said overwhelmingly in a new poll released Monday.

According to the Siena College Research Institute’s latest poll, 59% of Empire State’s registered voters say Santos, who admitted to lying and faces multiple investigations, should resign. Among Republicans, nearly half agreed he should go.

Only 17% of respondents told Siena they believe Santos should remain in office. The survey of 821 voters registered in New York State, conducted Jan. 15-19, has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.

The poll showed that Santos’ rating is no better: By a margin of more than 3 to 1, 16% to 56%, New York voters have a negative opinion of the new lawmaker. That net preference rating of minus 40 includes 56% of Republican respondents, along with a majority of Democrats and independents, Siena found.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they didn’t know or have no opinion of Santos — a lower proportion than six-year-old New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who recently became the Democratic House leader.

Santos has vowed to serve his full two-year term in the House of Representatives, brushing off the searing condemnation of his own fellow Republicans on Long Island, where his congressional district is located.

He has come under constant, intensified scrutiny after a bombastic report in the New York Times last month cast doubt on key details of the newly elected congressman’s biography, including his education and work history.

Santos has admitted to “embellishing” parts of his resume and has apologized, though he hasn’t responded to all questions about his claims about himself.

He has also denied some of the most damning allegations against him, including running away with thousands of dollars raised to fund surgery for a disabled veteran’s dying dog.

Santos also has not explained questions about the source of his apparent wealth, part of which has been used to fund his successful congressional campaign.

Federal, state, local and international investigators are investigating Santos.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and other senior Republicans have declined to join Santos’ calls for his resignation. McCarthy leads a narrow majority in the GOP House of Representatives that has already proved difficult to unify after voting to choose his speaker took 15 attempts.

If Santos left office, it would likely trigger a competitive special election in New York for his seat.

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