Expelled congressman George Santos announces he is re-running for Congress after turning up at SOTU

Disgraced former New York politician was a surprise guest at President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address

Katie Hawkinson
Washington DC
,Gustaf Kilander
Friday 08 March 2024 04:39 GMT
George Santos expelled from US House of Representatives in landslide vote

Expelled New York Congressman George Santos — who made a surprise appearance at the State of the Union — announced he is running for office again in 2024.

“New York hasn’t had a real conservative represent them since I left office arbitrarily, thanks to RINO, empty suits like @nicklalota,” Mr Santos wrote on X. “He is a willing to risk the future of our majority and the future of this country for his own political gain.”

Representative Nick LaLota, a Republican, represents a portion of Long Island. He was first elected in 2023 — and could now face the since-expelled former congressman in the next election.

“Tonight, I want to announce that I will be returning to the arena of politics and challenging Nick for the battle over #NY1,” Mr Santos continued. “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.”

The announcement came in the middle of President Joe Biden’s fiery State of the Union address which the serial fabulist turned up to – despite being ousted by the people in the room just three months earlier.

“After three months away from this place, I figured I’d come visit and watch the SOTU and update my ‘friends’ in the media about my new plans for public office,” Mr Santos told Axios about his decision to show up.

Farnoush Amiri of the Associated Press noted on X: “According to House rules, any former lawmaker can maintain their floor privileges unless they are a lobbyist, foreign agent, have a direct interest in the bill being considered at the time, or have been convicted of a crime in relation to their election or service.”

Mr Santos was wearing a bedazzled collard and silver shoes, CNN noted.

Mr Santos was ousted from Congress on 1 December by a vote of 311-114.

George Santos attended the 2024 State of the Union wearing a Laken Riley pin
George Santos attended the 2024 State of the Union wearing a Laken Riley pin (AFP via Getty Images)

His expulsion came after an Ethics Committee report found that there was “substantial evidence” that he had “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 in connection with RedStone Strategies LLC; and engaged in knowing and willful violations of the Ethics in Government Act as it relates to his Financial Disclosure (FD) Statements filed with the House”.

The report revealed that Mr Santos had spent around $6,000 in campaign donations at the luxury brand Ferragamo and Botox injections, according to campaign spreadsheets. It was also reported that campaign funds were used for OnlyFans subscriptions – the site best known for hosting adult content.

Mr Santos was first elected to Congress in 2022 after losing his first attempt in 2020. Reports later revealed he had told lies about his grandparents being Holocaust survivors and his mother dying on 9/11.

In May, Mr Santos was charged with 13 charges in a Long Island federal court. Several months later, he was hit with a superseding indictment listing 23 counts.

He initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, but he’s now in talks for a possible plea deal.

Last month, he mocked his old party after they lost his seat in a special election in New York’s third district.

Democratic Rep Tom Souzzi – the man who represented the district before Mr Santos won in 2022 – won back his old seat on Tuesday night in a tight race against Republican nominee Mazi Melesa Pilip.

Mr Souzzi chose not to run for re-election in 2022, instead mounting a failed primary campaign to be the Democratic nominee for governor, which he lost to incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul.

“I won #NY03 with $0 super PAC money, $0 CLF money and $0 Establishment money,” Mr Santos wrote after the election. “Tonight the establishment set $10 million on fire! I FLIPPED a 23 year Blue seat with the help of grassroots activists and by activating the base with retail politics… Hey @NassauNYGOP money does not buy votes, it’s respecting the wishes of the base that wins votes. #NY3 is #MAGA country and since MAGA was disrespected, MAGA stayed home!”

Ahead of the State of the Union in February last year, Mr Santos came eye to eye with Utah Senator and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The senator told Mr Santos that he didn’t belong in Congress and “should be embarrassed”.

“Tell that to the 142,000 who voted for me”, Mr Santos is reported to have replied.

After the speech, Mr Romney called Mr Santos a “sick puppy”.

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