document.write(''); 2024 candidates running against George Santos - Simo Baha

2024 candidates running against George Santos

E:Before House Democrats could introduce a resolution to remove him from Congress on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. George Santos’ political future looked bleak. In December, reporters began to reveal that the New York Republican had lied about topics as diverse as his alleged Jewish identity, work history and campaign finances. He quickly became the target of many investigations. Then, in May, he was indicted by the Justice Department on multiple counts of wire fraud and money laundering. He was also charged with embezzlement of state funds and making false statements in the House of Representatives. Santos pleaded not guilty to the charges.

As his political career seems to be on fire, rivals are swarming like moths. Five candidates have already filed to replace him, whether that opportunity comes when he is up for re-election next November or sooner. More candidates are likely to file for the seat as the situation develops.

For now, Santos is staying put. With even some of his fellow Republicans calling for his resignation, Santos has yet to lose the support of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who needs every vote he can get in the closely divided chamber. If Santos leaves Congress in the coming months, New York Gov. Cathy Hochul could call a special election, and party leaders would have the right to choose their preferred candidates. Democrats won the district handily in 2020, and they are optimistic about their chances of doing so again, pointing to Biden’s success there and the vigorous anti-Santos protests that have carried the congressman through his first term.

Here’s who has jumped into the race so far.

George Santos

Despite numerous scandals and criticism even within his own party, Santos announced in April that he was indeed running for re-election.

“I was elected to deliver on campaign promises to secure our border, lower the high cost of living, fix the catastrophic SALT problem in our tax code, and fight the Hochull crime crisis, a policy that empowers criminals to terrorize the people of New York.” Santos wrote in a statement he released Twitter:. “I’ve been in office for 100 days, and through legislation and my votes, I’ve already made significant efforts to deliver on those promises.”

Efforts to reach the Santos campaign were unsuccessful. In a statement to TIME, a spokesperson for his congressional office wrote: “Congressional offices do not comment on campaign matters.”

read more: The allegations against George Santos have been a long time coming

Kellen Curry

The only other Republican officially in the race is Afghanistan veteran Kellen Curry, who previously worked at JP Morgan. Curry tells TIME that he started thinking about returning to public service in 2021 when he got out of Afghanistan, but it wasn’t until he read about Santos’ lies that he decided to take the plunge.

“Someone could not go to this extent to deceive the American people,” he recalled when he first read the damning stories about Santos. “But, you know, it is what it is. Now, when I walk around the district, many people don’t even want to talk about it.”

Curry said the campaign is highlighting constituent services, as well as youth mental health, water infrastructure, measures to combat noise pollution and federal resources for the Merchant Marine Academy. “We have the most ineffective member of Congress right now, and he just can’t seem to get any attention on some of the issues that are important to the people of this district,” Curry said.

He calls himself a “kitchen table Republican” and says he has been a Republican for most of his adult life because he supports limited government, low taxes, a strong national defense and free markets. How does he think Santos will affect the district’s Republican brand? “I think Santos is a distraction. I think he’s a bad apple,” Curry says. “I think the National Party is in a tough spot because they need as many votes as they can get with a very small majority in the House of Representatives. But I also think there’s a desire to move beyond distraction. … We will soon have that opportunity here in the Third Ward.”

He adds that he’s looking forward to a potential special election or a chance to defeat Santos in next year’s GOP primary if it comes down to it. “I think this whole Santos re-election thing is going absolutely nowhere,” Curry says. “My feeling is that he’s doing this to create leverage with the DOJ.”

Zac Malamed

Zach Malamed, who co-founded the group Next 50 to raise millions for battleground Democratic candidates under 50, is the latest candidate to jump into the NY-03 race.

“I’m Zach Malamad and everything I’m about to tell you is true,” the 29-year-old Democrat said in a May 15 announcement video.

In an interview with TIME, Malamad describes the Santos scandals as too big to ignore. “Santos is not just a local disgrace, a nationwide disgrace, a national disgrace. he is an international disgrace,” he says. “When I was in Israel and the UAE over the past few months, I had people coming up to me asking if I knew anything about George Santos, not knowing that he was my representative in Congress.”

Malamad says his bid brings fresh energy to the race that is needed to defeat “MAGA Republican extremists” and stands out from current and potential candidates, some of whom have experience losing in the district. He also says he will focus on winning by growing the district’s Democratic base, especially in the part that reaches Queens.

Malamed says he identifies with the New Democrats, a moderate group in Congress focused on fiscal responsibility. When asked what issues are most important to him, Malamed talks about expanding access to health care and lowering the cost of living in the neighborhood, which he says can be a barrier for young Americans like him. After losing a friend to gun violence in 2020, Malamed says he also plans to prioritize gun safety, an issue he’s been working on for more than a decade.

He says the first 24 hours of his campaign have been marked by enthusiasm from across the ideological spectrum, including shouting: Twitter: U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, a progressive from California, praised Malamed as part of the “next generation of passionate and committed public servants.”

Will Murphy

“A real person focused on other real people,” reads the headline on Democrat Will Murphy’s campaign website. The lawyer and professor, who is running for office for the first time, says he is the only candidate in the race who represents ordinary people.

“When the Santos news broke, I looked at people stepping up to restore the faith of the average person, the everyday person, the real person, in the government,” he says. “And I just saw more of the same. They might not be as bad as Santos. But they are a bunch of self-interested career politicians.”

Murphy says his campaign is focused on restoring trust in government. He has committed to a term of no more than six years. Other major issues include restoring SALT reductions and implementing sensible gun safety reforms. “We have the Second Amendment for a reason,” he says. “But by voting to make the AR-15 our national weapon, it doesn’t protect people and it doesn’t protect our Second Amendment rights.”

As the father of a two-week-old and a two-year-old, he says he feels a personal interest in promoting gun safety in schools and working on education issues.

“Not every family has wedding rings and kids,” she says. “But at the end of the day, this district is about family issues. And I am the only candidate who can say that I am raising my family in this district.”

As Murphy prepares for a crowded Democratic primary, he says he doesn’t think a snap election is likely. “If Kevin McCarthy hadn’t been such a spineless coward, desperately clinging to power in the House, he would have done the right thing, been a real leader, fired George Santos and there would have been a snap election,” he says. “But I think it’s become pretty clear that Kevin McCarthy is a spineless coward.”

Josh Lafaza

Six years ago, Josh Lafazan was elected to the Nassau County Legislature at age 23, its youngest member ever. Before that, he had become the state’s youngest elected official when he joined his local school board at age 18. Lafazan has now joined the race for Santos’ seat.

On his campaign website, Lafazan says he is a professor and advisor to health care provider Northwell Health and calls “fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic his legislative priority.” The site also highlights his support for veterans and people with disabilities, as well as his fight against bullying in schools.

This isn’t Lafazan’s first run at NY-03. Last year, he was among the candidates across the country who received support from disgraced businessman Sam Bankman-Fried. He finished third in the Democratic primary.

Anna Kaplan

Former Democratic state Sen. Anna Kaplan, who lost her re-election bid last year, is also in the running. Her launch video highlights reports of Santos’ lies and scandals, while accusing her of wanting to limit reproductive rights and criticizing her for supporting the AR-15 bill.

In addition, the video tells the story of growing up Jewish in Iran, moving to New York, and officiating some of the first same-sex weddings in the state. It also highlights his support for abortion rights and gun safety, and the fact that in 2018 he

He previously ran for NY-03 in 2016, losing in the Democratic primary. Earlier in his career, he was elected to the North Hempstead Town Council.

Other possible candidates

Many potential candidates who could become heavy hitters have yet to announce whether or not they will enter the race. Among them is a former US deputy. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat who previously represented the district and lost last year’s gubernatorial primary to Hochul. Suozzi is said to be one of the party’s favorites to retake the seat.

Another Democrat who could launch a bid Robert ZimmermanDNC member and businessman who was the 2022 Democratic candidate for the seat, losing to Santos by 8 points. Zimmerman has come under some criticism for not doing more to expose Santos’ lies before the election. Asked Washington Post Will he run again earlier this year, he deflected.

Across the aisle, another candidate has piqued Republican interest, a New York state senator Jack Martins.

“I have called for George Santos to resign since he took office, and yesterday’s display only underscores why he needs to go.” Martins on Twitter on May 11 after being pointed out by the congressman. “We deserve better.”

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