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George Santos, ejected from House and facing fraud trial, will run again in N.Y.

Former New York Republican Rep. George Santos, wearing a glittering collar, attends the State of the Union address Thursday night in Washington, D.C.
Mandel Ngan
/
AFP via Getty Images
Former New York Republican Rep. George Santos, wearing a glittering collar, attends the State of the Union address Thursday night in Washington, D.C.

Former New York Republican Rep. George Santos, ejected by fellow lawmakers from the House in December, turned up Thursday night at President Biden's State of the Union speech wearing a bejeweled collar.

Santos was allowed to attend the president's address because former U.S. representatives retain lifetime membership privileges, even after being expelled.

Showing he hasn't lost his flare for dramatic timing, Santos used the moment to announce another bid for office.

"New York hasn't had a real conservative represent them since I left office arbitrarily, thanks to RINO, empty suits like @nicklalota," Santos said, posting on the social media site X.

He was referring to freshman Republican Rep. Nick LaLota, who represents New York's 1st Congressional District on Long Island.

LaLota helped lead the effort to oust Santos from his 3rd District House seat after it was revealed Santos lied about much of his personal and professional history, and after federal prosecutors indicted Santos on 23 fraud charges.

Now Santos says he'll return the favor by trying to oust LaLota in the GOP primary on June 25th:

"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."

LaLota immediately fired back at his former colleague, also posting 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," LaLota wrote.

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

Santos' return to politics is unwelcome news for Republicans in New York who already face a challenging election season as they fight to defend key House seats won in 2022.

His former 3rd District House seat has already tipped to a Democrat, Rep. Tom Suozzi, who won a special election to replace Santos last month.

Santos' lingering presence in New York politics might be a reminder to voters that he won office with strong backing from many of the state's most influential GOP officials.

It was later revealed that he invented much of his personal and professional history, fabricating a false Jewish heritage for his family and claiming to have been a competitive volleyball player at a college he never attended.

While campaigning for office, Santos also will be preparing for his federal fraud trial, scheduled to begin in September on Long Island.

Among the nearly two dozen charges he faces, Santos is accused of ripping off former campaign donors. Santos has denied any wrongdoing. His former campaign treasurer has already pleaded guilty.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brian Mann
Brian Mann is NPR's first national addiction correspondent. He also covers breaking news in the U.S. and around the world.
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