Congressman Nick LaLota says he's ready to face off against George Santos in Republican primary

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, March 8, 2024
Congressman LaLota says he's ready to face off against George Santos
Chantee Lans has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Just three months after being expelled from Congress, former Rep. George Santos says he's running for office again -- and the congressman he's challenging is already firing back.

Santos made the announcement while attending Thursday night's State of the Union address.

Santos says he'll challenge fellow Republican Nick LaLota for New York's 1st Congressional district, which represents parts of Suffolk County.

LaLota responded on social media saying: "If finishing the job requires beating him in a primary, count me in."

"My first reaction was a bit of an eye roll and a bit of a laughter because like I said, everything that comes from George Santos is a quite literally unbelievable," LaLota said Friday.

LaLota helped lead the charge to remove Santos from office.

"It's clear now that Santos' primary campaign against me is retaliation for folks like me holding him accountable," LaLota said.

Santos filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission designating a campaign committee and declaring his intent to challenge LaLota in the Republican primary in June.

The latest play for public office by Santos, who has admitted to lying about his job experience and college education during his previous campaign, was met with groans from the Republican Party leader in eastern Long Island.

"The people have no appetite for this bad comedy show to continue," said Suffolk County GOP chair Jesse Garcia. "His candidacy and whatever petitions he might file will have the same level of credibility as the degree he claimed to have received from Baruch College."

House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, of Brooklyn, called Santos out on Friday.

"It's kind of an extraordinary thing that this guy won't go away," Jeffries said.

Other New York Congress members blasted the former freshman Republican representative.

"Look he's an irrelevant clown and I think all of us would do well to ignore him," said Rep. Mike Lawler.

Democrat Tom Suozzi, who had represented the seat that Santos won in 2022 but stepped down to mount a failed run for governor of New York, won the district back in a special election last month.

Santos has pleaded not guilty to charges including lying to Congress about his wealth, receiving unemployment benefits he didn't deserve, and using campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses like designer clothing.

A judge has tentatively scheduled the trial for September, after the primary.

(Some information from the Associated Press)

RELATED | Newly sworn-in Tom Suozzi joins Up Close

Bill Ritter talks with newly sworn-in Congressman Tom Suozzi, and New York City Comptroller Brad Lander on this edition of Up Close.


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