Updated Mar 22, 2024 - Politics & Policy

George Santos mounts third-party bid for Congress

Former Rep. George Santos, wearing a dark gray suit over a black sweater with a red button, standing on the House floor talking to Rep. Lauren Boebert, wearing a blue dress.

Rep. George Santos. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Former Rep. George Santos said Friday he will mount an independent, third-party bid against Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.), rather than run in the Republican primary.

Why it matters: Should Santos get the signatures to make it on the ballot, he could siphon off GOP votes from LaLota in a swing district that could help decide the House majority.

  • Santos would have just a couple months to secure 3,500 signatures in a district he's never represented.

What he's saying: "After today's embarrassing showing in the house I have reflected and decided that I can no longer be part of the Republican Party," Santos said in a post on X.

  • The post came just after the House passed a $1.2 trillion spending bill reviled by the House's right-wing hardliners.
  • "I am officially suspending my petitioning in [NY-01] to access the ballot as a Republican and will be filling to run as an independent," Santos said.

The other side: "George Santos' expulsion from Congress was good for the nation and his resignation from the Republican Party is good for commonsense conservatives," LaLota said in a statement.

  • "Santos can watch me defend this important swing district and the November election results from his prison cell as he's being held accountable for stealing an election and ripping off donors."
  • John Avlon, a Democrat running for the seat, said Santos and LaLota are "just two faces of Trumpism: one's a serial liar and the other is a Trump-flunky who will do whatever Donald Trump says."

The backdrop: Santos was expelled from Congress last year after less than a year after an Ethics Committee report accused him of a "complex web of unlawful activity."

  • He initially planned to challenge LaLota as a Republican, an announcement he made during an unexpected – and uninvited – appearance at the State of the Union earlier this month.

By the numbers: New York's 1st congressional district, which covers much of the Eastern and Northern portions of Long Island, went for former President Trump by about 1 percentage point in 2020.

  • The congressional election in November will coincide with a presidential rematch between Trump and President Biden.
  • Santos previously represented the neighboring 3rd district.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with statements from LaLota and Avlon.

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