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Expelled former Rep. George Santos ends his independent bid for Congress

In World
April 24, 2024

Former New York Rep. George Santos announced Tuesday that he was ending his independent campaign for a seat in Congress.

Santos, a Republican who was expelled from the House late last year, had said last month that he was running for New York’s First Congressional District as an independent.

“I have decided to withdraw from my independent run for #NY1,” Santos said in a statement on X, adding he was concerned that his candidacy could split the vote with GOP Rep. Nick LaLota and deliver the seat to Democrats.

LaLota is one of the Republicans who voted to expel Santos in December amid federal criminal charges. Santos has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges, and is scheduled to stand trial in September.

Santos, who represented New York’s 3rd District before he was removed from Congress, initially declared in March that he was running as a Republican, arguing that “New York hasn’t had a real conservative represent them since I left office arbitrarily, thanks to RINO, empty suits like [LaLota].”

Two weeks later, he announced he was instead going to run as an independent. Santos said he was making the switch because the Republican-led House voted to pass a $1.2 trillion spending bill hours ahead of a government shutdown deadline, a move he called “embarrassing.”

On Tuesday, he posted, “I don’t want to split the ticket and be responsible for handing the house” to Democrats. He added, “I’ll be back.”

Santos became only the sixth member of Congress to ever be expelled after a House ethics report concluded that there was “substantial evidence” that Santos “violated federal criminal laws.” It alleged that he spent campaign funds on luxury goods, Botox and OnlyFans payments. Santos has denied the allegations.

Since leaving Congress, Santos has been active on social media and on the platform Cameo, where he is paid for short, personalized video messages. He has also sued late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, accusing him of fraud and copyright infringement for allegedly using fake names to request videos that Kimmel played on his show.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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