U.S. Rep. George Santos plans to run in 2024 — but if he doesn't win the Republican nomination for his seat, he pledged to the Herald he won't run as a third-party candidate.
"I would concede and go away," Santos said. "It would be a waste of my time, energy and effort (to run third-party). The whole politicking of it is that I want to run as a Republican."
Santos sat down with the Herald on Friday for a wide-ranging interview focused on policy, legislation he introduced, and how he's been serving his district despite the pushback from a number of people in his community, as well as the Nassau County GOP.
And while he knows he won't get any help from county Republicans, Santos says he won't need it.
"I never had the support of the party," the congressman said. "Everybody forgets I was never supported by the party. They gave me the line, but that was it. They don't have to give it to me. I can earn it by primary."
It's no surprise Santos backs former president Donald Trump to win the GOP nomination for a potential return to the White House in next year's election. If another Republican ends up facing Joe Biden in the general election, Santos says he'll be behind that candidate.
"I will support the Republican nominee if it's not Donald Trump, but I do believe it's going to be Donald Trump at this point," Santos said. "When I supported Donald Trump in 2015, people looked at me and made fun of me. Those were Republicans, by the way."
Santos was seen in Manhattan last month protesting against Trump's indictment over alleged campaign-related hush money payments. But he has not had any contact with the former president.
"No, I don't need him to worry about me," Santos said. "I don't need him to reach out. I don't need validation and pandering and all that stuff. I'm OK."
Read more from U.S. Rep. George Santos from the exclusive interview in the May 11 editions of the Sea Cliff/Glen Head Herald, the Glen Cove Herald and the Oyster Bay Herald.
Additional reporting by Laura Lane and Michael Hinman