Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) announced Thursday he will no longer run for reelection in 2024, dropping out of the race shortly after the House Ethics Committee released a scathing report detailing “substantial evidence” that the embattled Congressman “violated federal crimes.”
Santos, however, said he will continue to serve his district “up until I am allowed,” indicating that he does not plan to resign.
“I will continue on my mission to serve my constituents up until I am allowed. I will however NOT be seeking re-election for a second term in 2024 as my family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time,” Santos wrote on X, formerly called Twitter.
The announcement is a reversal for Santos, who told CNN in an interview earlier this month that he would run for his seat next year even if the House voted to expel him.
The report from the Ethics Committee, which followed a months-long investigation, said the New York Republican “cannot be trusted,” adding “At nearly every opportunity, he placed his desire for private gain above his duty to uphold the Constitution, federal law, and ethical principles.”
The panel detailed evidence showing that he stole money from his campaign, deceived donors into thinking they were giving money for his campaign when the funds were actually put towards personal use, reported fictitious loans to political committees to receive more money from donors and party committees, and “used his connections to high value donors and other political campaigns to obtain funds for himself through fraudulent or otherwise questionable business dealings.”
“And he sustained all of this through a constant series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience,” the panel added.
Top Stories from The Hill
- House Ethics Committee releases scathing report on George Santos
- Paul Pelosi attacker found guilty of federal kidnapping, assault charges
- Trump signals he’s out for revenge in second term
- GOP senators clash with Tuberville over military nominees late into night
The race to succeed Santos in Congress is already underway, after a number of candidates previously jumped into the race to challenge the embattled lawmaker.
Former NYPD detective Mike Sapraicone and businessman and Air Force veteran Kellan Curry are among the Republicans vying for Santos’s seat. On the other side of the aisle, former Rep. Tom Suozzi (N.Y.) is looking to return to his spot in Congress, and former State Sen. Anna Kaplan and businessman Austin Cheng are also jockeying for the role.
Santos flipped New York’s 3rd Congressional District from Democrat to Republican in 2022, and the Cook Political Report says it is a lean-Democrat seat for the 2024 cycle.
While the report did not recommend expulsion, it is increasing the political peril surrounding the New York Republicans.
Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest (R-Miss.) is planning to move to force a vote on Santos’s expulsion on Friday, a source familiar confirmed to The Hill teeing up a third referendum on ousting the embattled lawmaker.
Earlier this month, the effort to expel Santos fell short in a 179-213-19 vote, and in May, the chamber voted to refer his expulsion resolution to the Ethics Committee, a move that was largely panned as redundant because the panel had already been looking into the Congressman.
“Chairman Guest feels that the evidence uncovered in the Committee’s investigation is more than sufficient to warrant punishment, and that the most appropriate punishment is expulsion,” Guest told the outlet.
Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) — who forced the vote on a Santos expulsion resolution in May — said he plans to try again when the House returns to Washington after the Thanksgiving recess.
“Today, I thank the Ethics Committee for reaffirming the blatantly obvious fact that George Santos is unfit to serve,” Garcia wrote in a statement.
“George Santos has no place in Congress and that is why I will once again be submitting a privileged resolution to expel this liar and fraud when we return to session on November 28,” he added.
The Ethics report has already swayed at least one lawmaker who opposed expulsion earlier this month.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said he would vote to boot Santos from office after previously voting against the effort this month.
“The report’s findings are extremely damning and I would vote to expel,” Raskin told The Hill in a text message.
Raj Shah, deputy chief for communications for Speaker Johnson (R-La.), said in a statement that the top lawmaker “has reviewed the report and its very troubling findings.”
“As members from both parties, members of the Ethics Committee, and Representative Santos return to Congress after the Thanksgiving break, Speaker Johnson encourages all involved to consider the best interests of the institution as this matter is addressed further,” he added.
Updated at 6:04 p.m.