Pictured Above: George Santos for Congress campaign photo.

If you thought you’d heard the last of expelled GOP Congressman George Santos, you were wrong, and the news is closer to home than you might expect. Santos announced on X Thursday night after President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address that he will be running a GOP primary campaign against Congressman Nick LaLota to represent CD1, which includes the entire East End.

In the post just before 10 p.m. Thursday, Santos said Mr. LaLota is “willing to risk the future of our majority and the future of this country for his own political gain. After a lot of prayer and conversation with my friends and family, I have made a very important decision that will shake things up. Tonight, I want to announce that 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. The fight for our majority is imperative for the survival of the country. God bless you all, and we are off to the races!”

Here’s the post:

In response, Mr. LaLota, a U.S. Navy veteran, posted a photo of himself aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, saying he was up for the job of holding his seat.

“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,” he said. “If finishing the job requires beating him in a primary, count me in.”

Mr. Santos was expelled from Congress in a bipartisan vote (311-114) in December of 2023, after facing 23 felony counts of money laundering, fraud and theft during his campaign to win New York’s Third Congressional District in 2022. Members of Congress are not required to live in the district they represent, though they are required to live in the same state as the district they represent.

Democrats were also quick to ridicule the disgraced congressman’s announcement.

“This would be funny if it weren’t so serious to see George Santos and Nick LaLota fight to see who is more extreme,” said Democratic candidate Nancy Goroff. “The reality is that both oppose a woman’s right to choose, have failed to lower costs for families, and care more about publicity than getting things done for Long Island families. Not to mention that neither actually lives in the district.”

“George Santos is a liar and a grifter who is a disgraced, expelled Member of Congress. Santos’ announcement to challenge vulnerable New York Republican Nick LaLota is the latest glimpse into Republicans’ messy, chaotic attempt to maintain the House,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Spokesperson Ellie Dougherty. “Most importantly, Santos’ strange entry is yet another proof point of how desperate Republicans are to do anything to remain relevant while New York Democrats remain focused on taking back the House majority.” 

Nominating petitions, which must be signed by registered members of a political party, are due April 2 for the June 25 primaries.

On the Democratic side, candidates Nancy Goroff and John Avlon will discuss the issues at a March 16 forum sponsored by the Southold and Riverhead Town Democrats at the Jamesport Meeting House, 1590 Main Road in Jamesport, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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