Former Rep. George Santos Leaving GOP, Will Run as Independent

Former Rep. George Santos Leaving GOP, Will Run as Independent
Former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) attends the State of the Union address in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 7, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) announced on March 22 that he is leaving the Republican Party and will run as an independent for his old seat.

“After today’s embarrassing showing in the house I have reflected and decided that I can no longer be part of the Republican Party…,” posted Mr. Santos on X, formerly Twitter, a few hours after the GOP-controlled House passed a $1.2 trillion bill to fund the remaining 70 percent of the government.

“The Republican Party continues to lie and swindle its voter base. I in good conscience cannot affiliate myself with a party that stands for nothing and falls for everything,” he continued.

Mr. Santos represented New York’s Third Congressional District from Jan. 3, 2023, until Dec. 1.

Mr. Santos announced on March 7 that he is running for his old seat, from which he was expelled after the bipartisan House Ethics Committee released a report stating that Mr. Santos “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission; used campaign funds for personal purposes; engaged in fraudulent conduct, … and engaged in knowing and willful violations of the Ethics in Government Act.”

Mr. Santos made the announcement while attending President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on March 7. Former members of Congress can be on the House floor unless they are convicted of a crime. Mr. Santos is facing 23 federal charges, ranging from money laundering to fraud to misleading Congress.

In addition to Mr. Santos, candidates running in New York’s Third Congressional District include Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.), who represents New York’s 1st Congressional District, and former CNN commentator Jon Avlon, who is running as a Democrat.

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) won a special election last month and returned to Congress, where he served between 2017 and 2021 before unsuccessfully running for governor of New York. Mr. LaLota is running in a different district following the redistricting of New York’s congressional maps.

In his reelection announcement, Mr. Santos lamented that the Empire State “hasn’t had a real conservative represent them since I left office arbitrarily.”

“He is willing to risk the future of our majority and the future of this country for his own political gain,” he said, referring to Mr. LaLota.

“After a lot of prayer and conversation with my friends and family, I have made a very important decision that will shake things up,” Mr. Santos said.

“Tonight, I want to announce that I will be returning to the arena of politics and challenging Nick for the battle over #NY1. I look forward to debating him on the issues and on his weak record as a Republican. The fight for our majority is imperative for the survival of the country. God bless you all, and we are off to the races!” added Mr. Santos.

According to the DOJ, Mr. Santos illegally transferred a $25,000 campaign donation from one donor and a $24,000 donation from another to that LLC’s bank account, which he controlled, laundering the money and spending much of it purchasing personal items, including clothing, and paying off debts.

Additionally, Mr. Santos is charged with unlawfully applying for unemployment benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act during the pandemic and lying to the House of Representatives in financial statements. He has also pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Responding to Mr. Santos’s announcement on March. 7, Mr. LaLota posted on X: “To raise the standard in Congress and to hold a pathological liar who stole an election accountable, I led the charge to expel George Santos.”

“If finishing the job requires beating him in a primary, count me in.”

The New York primary election will take place on June 25.

Katabella Roberts contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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