New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is sparking confusion online as some users on X believe a comment she made on social media indicated that she intends to fill the seat of expelled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., herself, and not hold a special election to fill the vacancy.
Hochul’s reaction to Santos being expelled from the X network at 11:14 a.m. did not mention an election. This led to some users assuming that Santos would be replaced by the governor.
“I am willing to take on the solemn duty of filling in the vacancy at New York’s Third District. Hochul wrote that the people of Long Island deserved nothing less on X. He did not mention a special election.
The post was still active at the time of publication. Over three and a quarter hours later, it has received nearly 800,000.
Santos, who was removed from Congress on Friday morning after a House Ethics Committee probe that revealed he used “campaign money for personal purposes,” as well as, “engaged in fraudulent conduct,” was booted out of Congress.
The executive branch of New York must now hold an election to fill his seat, as a result of his expulsion. This is governed by Article I, Section 2, Clause 4 of New York’s Constitution. Hochul must schedule a special vote within 10 days, which will take place between 70 and 80 days later.
Hochul’s office was contacted for clarification on the position. A spokesperson responded at 1 pm that Hochul intends to call a special election.
The spokesperson pointed out a press statement on the Governor’s website, which is almost identical to the post on X with the addition of the reference to the elections.
“I am willing to take on the solemn duty of filling the vacant seat in New York’s third district by calling a special election. The statement on the website reads: “The people of Long Island, Queens, and Brooklyn deserve no less.”
The statement was posted on the Governor’s website around 12:45 p.m. – about 75 minutes after she made it public.
The post still drives debate about X.
The voters will choose the next member of Congress. One user wrote: “You have to call for a special election.”
Another user responded to another by writing: “It makes it seem like she is the one who decides on whether it will be filled. It doesn’t mention any special elections or issuing of writs.”
Some users suggested that Hochul was referring to the fact that she had selected the Democratic candidate in the special elections.
There is no primary for this seat. Instead, the leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties will select their candidates.
“The special election has no primary. Thus both parties nominate who they want to run,” wrote another user. “Hence she has a say as to who will run on the Dem ticket.”