While U.S. Rep. George Santos has continued to defy his many critics by refusing to resign from Congress, he now faces the difficult task of winning re-election after having filed to run again next year. As local and national support for the embattled Republican remains effectively nonexistent, Santos will likely find his third congressional race his most difficult, now that his constituents have gotten to know him for real.
While the beginning of the year before an election traditionally marks the start of incumbents’ donation-raising, Santos seems to be struggling to raise money, according to reports from The New York Times and The Hill. In the first quarter of 2023, he only managed to raise around $5,400, a distressingly low sum, especially when compared with the roughly $350,000 that one of his Democrat opponents and Twitter rivals, Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan, has raised.
As well, Santos apparently has returned over $8,000 to former donors, leaving his total donation fund at a net negative $3,000. This leaves his total cash on hand at only $32,000 according to his campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Committee, which won’t last long if he goes through with his plan to run.
The filings also revealed that Santos did not made any purchases for any campaign-related expenses in the first quarter, nor has he paid back the $715,000 he allegedly loaned his campaign during the last election. The filings also seem to indicate that he is not using the money from his campaign fund to pay his employees although he may still be doing so out of pocket, nor does it appear that he has hired any attorneys despite the numerous legal complaints he faces.
Santos apparently will not be able to look to his party for any assistance, either, because nearly every New York state Republican has loudly condemned his lies and called on him to resign. Even at the national level, Santos has few allies, and despite what looks like a slim chance that he will be re-elected, he is not listed as a recipient for Protect the House New York 2024, a joint fundraising committee dedicated to ensuring that state Republicans hold on to their seats.
The committee, which is supported by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, whom Santos voted for, will help a number of New York Republican House members raise funds while reducing fundraising costs. Asked by CNN’s chief congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, if he would support Santos’ re-election bid, McCarthy reportedly laughed and said, “I didn’t know he announced. We will wait and see who all files.”
Several of those whom the committee will support, including Santos’ fellow Long Island representatives Nick LaLota and Anthony D’Esposito, have been staunch critics of Santos, and even introduced legislation meant to prevent him from cashing in on his notoriety should he lose in 2024.
Meanwhile, Santos’ own attempts at introducing legislation have stalled: Despite having introduced four bills on the House floor, he has thus far been unable to persuade anyone from either party to support them, a rare example of bipartisan unity in otherwise divided political times.
Besides his four nonstarter bills, it is unclear what Santos has been doing during his time in office beyond engaging in Twitter fights with everyone from Chrissy Teigen to former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican. Meanwhile, Santos has continued to claim on Twitter and elsewhere that he has been going above and beyond to help his constituency.
He found the time to attend a Young Republicans party in Washington, at which he apparently made extravagant claims about himself and his accomplishments in office while unironically claiming “The truth will set you free,” according to a New York Times reporter. He also reiterated to the crowd that he would never resign, and that “You’re going to have to drag my cold, dead body out of this institution.”