George Santos drops congressional bid


Former U.S. Representative George Santos has announced his withdrawal from the race for Congress, marking the end of his bid to return to Capitol Hill. Santos, who had been running as an independent candidate for New York's 1st Congressional District, revealed his decision in a post on the social media platform X.

Speculation had been swirling about the viability of Santos' campaign after his campaign committee reported no fundraising or expenditures in March. This lack of activity suggested that his efforts to gain momentum in the race had faltered.

Santos' decision to drop out comes on the heels of his recent shift away from the Republican Party. Initially launching a campaign to challenge Republican Rep. Nick LaLota in the GOP primary for the eastern Long Island congressional district, Santos later announced his departure from the party. He cited differences with LaLota but emphasized that his decision to run as an independent was not driven by personal vendettas.

In his post, Santos expressed concern about potentially splitting the ticket and inadvertently aiding Democratic candidates. He noted that remaining in the race would likely result in a Democratic victory and hinted at a future return to politics.

"I will continue to participate in the public policy discussion and will do my part,” the post reads. “I will always strive to stand on the right side of history. It's only goodbye for now, I'll be back."

Santos' political aspirations have been overshadowed by his legal troubles. Facing 23 federal charges, including allegations of fraud related to coronavirus pandemic unemployment benefits, misusing campaign funds, and providing false information on House disclosure reports, Santos has maintained his innocence. His expulsion from the House in December 2023 made him the sixth lawmaker in history to be ousted from Congress.

Despite his ambitions to bring "Ultra MAGA/Trump supporting values" to the ballot as an independent candidate, Santos now faces the formidable challenge of defending himself against serious legal accusations. His future in both the political arena and the courtroom remains uncertain as he navigates the repercussions of his actions.

Democrat Robert Zimmerman ran unsuccessfully against Santos in 2022. He said Santos was never a valid candidate. Additionally, Zimmerman believes Santos’ recent announcement is “an attempt to get to stay in the news and try to boost his social media profile.”

“It doesn't make a difference what he says or what he posts, because right now, the only future he has is facing a criminal trial, and most likely ending up in jail,” Zimmerman said. “I would hope this means the public's paying closer attention to who these candidates are, and going forward, the media and the public will be more scrutinizing of congressional candidates.”