George Santos Drops Independent Bid For House

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Former embattled congressman George Santos announced Tuesday he has withdrawn his independent candidacy for Congress.

Santos intended to challenge Republican New York Rep. Nick LaLota in New York’s 1st Congressional district on Long Island, but said he decided against it to avoid a split ticket and potentially hand the election to the Democrats.

“I have decided to withdraw from my independent run for #NY1…” Santos said on Twitter. “I don’t want my run to be portrayed as reprisal against Nick Lalota… Although Nick and I don’t have the same voting record and I remain critical of his abysmal record, I don’t want to split the ticket and be responsible for handing the house to Dems…It is clear that with the rise of antisemitism in our country we cannot afford to hand the house to Dems as they have a very large issue with antisemitism in their ranks…”

The New York congressman announced his challenge against LaLota in March to fight for the slim Republican majority.

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!” he wrote during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address. 

The House voted to expel Santos in a 311-114 vote on Dec. 1 following the release of a damning House ethics report. The report concluded that the embattled congressman “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

Santos pleaded not guilty to a 13-count indictment during a May 10 arraignment, including seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives. The agency hit Santos with a 23-count superseding indictment on fraud and conspiracy charges in October.

Santos refused to resign from his seat after being hit with the federal indictments. Then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he would not call on Santos to resign unless he faced conviction.

The New York congressman recused himself from serving on committees. (RELATED: George Santos Arrested On Federal Criminal Charges)

“If a person is indicted, they’re not on committees. They have the right to vote, but they have to go to trial,” McCarthy said ahead of Santos’ arraignment.

The former congressman is under investigation in Brazil for allegedly writing fraudulent checks.