As reports that Rep. George Santos lied about most of his life on the campaign trail have proliferated, Santos has maintained that the only people who would decide his political future are those who put him in office in the first place — the voters of New York’s 3rd Congressional District.
Most recently, Santos told the British television host Piers Morgan that he would “face the music” from his constituents, not from the media or from other politicians. That was a sentiment he had expressed before. But through all of the revelations about his life and career, he had made no statements about a potential 2024 re-election bid — until now.
On March 14, Santos officially filed for re-election next year with the Federal Election Commission, apparently prepared to try to hold on to his seat despite the media firestorm. The principal campaign committee will be called Devolder-Santos for Congress. Other committees listed on his FEC filing include Take Back the House 2022, Devolder Santos Victory Committee and Devolder Santos Van Duyne Victory Committee.
According to a number of media outlets, this does not necessarily mean Santos is running in 2024; just that he has left the window open and begun raising money. But his past statements on the matter, and specifically those on Morgan’s show, appear to indicate that he plans to run.
If he does, Santos can expect a difficult primary and general election. In January, Newsday reported that both Democrats and Republicans were lining up candidates to oppose him. On the Republican side, the potential candidates include Sen. Jack Martins; Alison Esposito, the running mate of losing gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin; and Daniel Serota, the mayor of Brookville.
Potential Democratic candidates include Santos’s predecessor, former Rep. Tom Suozzi, Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal, and Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan. Another possible scenario is a rematch between Santos and Robert Zimmerman.
That all remains speculative. The only person who has declared an intent to run against Santos in 2024 is St. John’s University law professor William Murphy, a Democrat, who told the New York Post that he had “just had enough.”
Despite Santos’s filing with the FEC, the Nassau County Republican Party appears determined to stop him from winning a second term.
And Santos has landed in some hot water with the commission. Last month it demanded that he name a new campaign treasurer, after his former treasurer, Nancy Marks, resigned. In addition, his filing could be the result of an FEC demand, also last month, that he declare his 2024 candidacy or suspend all post-election fundraising.
While Santos remains media shy, he is not Twitter shy. He has continuously used his Twitter feed to attack his political opponents — President Biden as well as the media. He singled out Grant Lally, publisher of the North Shore Leader, in one tweet, calling Lally homophobic and accusing him of defrauding the FEC.
In other news, Santos came under fire for being involved in the sale of a $19 million yacht between two of his donors. Santos apparently arranged for Long Island auto dealer Raymond Tantillo to buy a 141-foot boat from Mayra and John Ruiz. Tantillo donated over $17,000 to Santos’s campaign, while Mayra Ruiz gave over $10,000 to his joint fundraising committee last March. Questions remain as to how Santos was in the position to oversee such a deal, given that as recently as 2020 he claimed to be making only $55,000 per year.