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George Santos is running for reelection because “good isn’t good enough”

The embattled New York Republican is running again, and proposing a Covid vaccine bill.

Rep. Santos, in a black suit, white shirt and gold tie, smiles and gestures, talking to someone not pictured.
Rep. George Santos (R-NY), attending the State of the Union address in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2023.
Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Embattled incumbent Rep. George Santos (R-NY) announced on Monday that he would seek reelection to Congress. Santos’s announcement, posted on Twitter, came after the New York Republican has faced months of scandals following a series of revelations about his past. The revelations ranged from Santos lying about having Jewish heritage, to lies about his professional background, to false claims he received a college degree, to allegations that the first-term member of Congress had defrauded Amish dog breeders in 2017.

The result has been that Santos has become both a national figure and a national laughingstock seemingly overnight. He is facing multiple investigations from the House Ethics Committee and law enforcement and does not have any committee assignments at present. Santos, who described himself as a “diligent legislator” in his announcement Monday, also said “good isn’t good enough and I’m not shy about doing what it takes to get the job done.”

Santos faces significant obstacles to winning reelection. A number of his fellow Republicans have called on him to resign, including the chair of the Nassau County Republican Party and every other first-term Republican elected from the Empire State in 2022. In his most recent fundraising report filed over the weekend, Santos raised just over $5,000 in the first quarter of 2023 and has only $25,000 on hand. He also owes over $715,000 in debts to himself for loans he made to his campaign in 2022.

In an interview with Vox, Pam Panzenbeck, the Republican mayor of Glen Cove, a town in Santos’s district, expressed scorn for the Congress member’s chances of being reelected. She described Santos as having “no sense of reality” and said his reelection bid was “totally delusional.” Panzenbeck said she thought Santos would get “zero support” and emphasized the Nassau County GOP’s complete repudiation of him. Santos has made zero effort to reach out in the aftermath of the revelations about his wholesale deception, Panzenbeck said. “He doesn’t think that we’re owed an apology and everyone should just get over it,” she said. Panzenbeck added that, outside of politics, she believed Santos “really has a future as a fantasy novelist.”

Even before Santos’s announcement, his district was considered perhaps the most likely House seat for Democrats to pick up in 2024. Joe Biden won his district by nearly 10 points in 2020, and Santos benefited from a historically poor performance from New York Democrats in 2022. Santos lost his first bid for Congress in 2020 against then-incumbent Tom Suozzi. He then went to Washington, DC, to participate in former President Donald Trump’s rally on the Ellipse on January 6, 2021, and insisted that both he and Trump won their elections at an event the day before. However, a failed bid for governor by Suozzi as well as New York’s confused redistricting process helped Santos win in 2022 on his second try.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said, “George Santos’ decision to run for reelection underscores what little control the Republican Party has in one of their most vulnerable regions, after Santos has been discovered blatantly lying to voters about his life and record. Voters on Long Island are eager to vote Santos out of office and once again have a representative who looks out for their interests — not his own.” A spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee did not respond to a request for comment.

Santos also continued his legislative work on Capitol Hill on Monday. He reportedly introduced the Minaj Act, named after rapper Nicki Minaj, which would “establish a development period for new vaccines in order to generate public confidence.” (The bill’s text has not yet been publicly released.) A spokesperson for Santos did not respond to a request for comment about the bill, which seems to have been inspired by a 2021 viral tweet in which Minaj claimed her cousin’s friend got swollen testicles from a Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccines do not cause this, although sexually transmitted diseases can.

Update, April 18, 11:45 am ET: This story was originally published on April 17 and has been updated with remarks from Glen Cove Mayor Pam Panzenbeck.

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