POLITICS & ELECTIONS

Former US Rep. George Santos, expelled from Congress, says he is running again

Mar 9, 2024, 3:40 PM

FILE - Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., faces reporters at the Capitol, Nov. 30, 2023, in Washington. Sa...

FILE - Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., faces reporters at the Capitol, Nov. 30, 2023, in Washington. Santos, who was expelled from the House of Representatives in December and faces federal charges of defrauding donors to his 2022 campaign, announced on social media that he is running for Congress again. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. George Santos, who was expelled from Congress in December and faces federal charges of defrauding donors to his 2022 campaign, has announced he is running for the House again.

Santos, a Republican who is just the sixth member to be ousted by fellow House members, posted Thursday night on X that he will challenge Republican Rep. Nick LaLota, who represents a district on New York’s Long Island that is different from the one Santos represented before he was expelled.

He made the announcement after attending President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address and mingling with former colleagues who voted to kick him out of Congress following a blistering report by the House Ethics Committee.

Santos, who had previously said he would not seek elective office again, said on X that he decided to challenge LaLota in New York’s 1st Congressional District, on eastern Long Island, after “prayer and conversation” with friends and family.

“Tonight, I want to announce that I will be returning to the arena of politics and challenging Nick for the battle over #NY1,” Santos posted.

George Santos files paperwork

Santos filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission designating a campaign committee and declaring his intent to challenge LaLota in the Republican primary in June.

LaLota, a leader of the effort to expel Santos, said, “I suspect that this primary challenge from Santos is retaliation for that, but we’re taking it seriously.”

“I think we’re going to run on a record of accountability, integrity, honor, providing a higher bar here in Congress to ensure that members who conduct themselves, regardless of what party they’re from, they do so with integrity,” he said.

The latest play for public office by Santos, who has admitted to lying about his job experience and college education during his previous campaign, was met with groans from the Republican Party leader in eastern Long Island.

“The people have no appetite for this bad comedy show to continue,” said Suffolk County GOP chair Jesse Garcia. “His candidacy and whatever petitions he might file will have the same level of credibility as the degree he claimed to have received from Baruch College.”

Democrat Tom Suozzi, who had represented the seat that Santos won in 2022 but stepped down to mount a failed run for governor of New York, won the district back in a special election last month.

Santos has pleaded not guilty to charges including lying to Congress about his wealth, receiving unemployment benefits he didn’t deserve, and using campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses like designer clothing.

A judge has tentatively scheduled the trial for September, after the primary.

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Former US Rep. George Santos, expelled from Congress, says he is running again