Home News George Santos raises $0 for comeback bid, vows to run volunteer campaign

George Santos raises $0 for comeback bid, vows to run volunteer campaign

Ex-Rep. George Santos vowed Monday to run an all-volunteer political comeback campaign after a new campaign filing showed he didn’t raise or spend any money in the first weeks of his supposed congressional bid.

“I’m going to do this all with volunteers,” the disgraced former lawmaker told the News. “Confidence, I have. Capacity, I have.”

Brushing aside questions about the sparse filing, Santos said he wants to avoid negative media stories stemming from alleged campaign finance misdeeds by raising or spending campaign cash.

“If I raise money, you’re going to say I’m doing it to grift or to fund my lavish lifestyle or whatever you want to write,” Santos said.

Santos plans to run as an independent against incumbent Republican Rep. Nick LaLota in the NY-01 seat.

His campaign committee filed its first official document with the Federal Election Commission Monday. It revealed zero dollars in spending and zero dollars in donations.

To make the fall ballot, Santos needs to collect 3,500 valid signatures from voters in the East End district. He can start collecting the signatures tomorrow in a window that extends until May 15.

Santos said he is aiming to collect 7,000 signatures because he fears LaLota or other establishment Republicans may seek to challenge many of the petitions he files.

“It’s reminiscent of the Stalin or Gorbachev eras,” he said.

Santos, who is awaiting trial on federal fraud, theft and campaign finance charges, announced last month that he would switch districts to run against LaLota.

He first floated a Republican primary challenge, but then decided to mount an independent general election campaign.

Santos, who won a different Long Island seat in 2022, was expelled from Congress last year after a damning House ethics report accused him of misconduct. He was already a national political punch line for concocting virtually his entire life story.

Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi beat Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip to flip the seat in a closely watched February special election to fill the empty seat.

Santos didn’t get involved in that race but last month vowed to reenter politics by taking on LaLota, with whom he feuded bitterly during his stint in Congress.

The new district abuts his old NY-03 district, but Santos breezily suggested geography is no obstacle for his ambitions.

“Everybody knows me,” he said. “Let’s face it: Am I a stranger to anyone on Long Island?”

If Santos does make the fall ballot, he could pose a headache for LaLota by potentially siphoning away some right-wing Republican voters.

“Nick LaLota should be worried,” Santos warned.

LaLota did not immediately comment on his rival’s bluster.

On the Democratic side, former CNN anchor John Avlon is running for the nomination along with retired Stony Brook University professor Beth Goroff, who lost the district in 2020 to ex-Rep. Lee Zeldin.

“George Santos and Nick LaLota both vote the same way…the only difference is that one was kicked out of Congress the other will be kicked out by the voters in November,” Avlon said.


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