George Santos creates a predicament for the GOP: he announces he will run as an independent and put a Republican seat in New York at risk

New York's 1st district is an undecided territory whose incumbent, Nick LaLota (R), won in 2022 by nine percentage points.

This Friday was chaotic for the Republican Party, especially in the House of Representatives.

Earlier in the day, after representatives approved a $1.2 trillion spending bill to try to avert a government shutdown, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a high-profile congresswoman, presented a motion of no confidence against speaker Mike Johnson, further opening the rift between the moderate and more conservative wings of the party. Republicans also saw their majority in the House close even further due to the resignation of Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who, on April 19, will leave the seat empty until November.

But in addition to the internal chaos in the House, the November elections were complicated even further because former Representative George Santos, removed months ago amid a scandal for alleged electronic fraud, identity theft and campaign finance violations, has announced that he will not run in the Republican primary elections for the 1st district of New York, but will be instead run as an independent.

“After today’s embarrassing showing in the house I have reflected and decided that I can no longer be part of the Republican Party,” Santos wrote on X (Twitter). “The Republican Party continues to lie and swindle its voter base. I in good conscience cannot affiliate myself with a party that stands for nothing and falls for everything.”

I am officially suspending my petitioning in #NY01 to access the ballot as a Republican and will be filing to run as an independent. I will take my Ultra MAGA/Trump supporting values to the ballot in November as an Independent,” stated the former representative.

The decision puts the GOP in trouble because New York’s 1st district is undecided terrain in the November electoral contest and could even define the majority in the Lower House.

The incumbent of the 1st District, Republican Nick LaLota, won the 2022 election by nine percentage points against Democrat Bridget Fleming.

The difference was approximately 35,000 votes.

If Santos manages to run a moderately competitive race, splitting Republican votes in a swing district that includes eastern Long Island, Democrats would have a serious chance to flip the seat.

This afternoon, Santos called LaLota a “RINO” after the representative of New York’s 1st district voted in favor of the Spending Law.

Hey Nick LaLota you can’t control yourself can you? Screwing the American people is your favorite sport and lying to the Republican base is with your “commitment to America” seems to be your record!,” wrote the former representative of New York’s 3rd district.

However, to run in the 1st district, Santos has to overcome two important obstacles.

First, the former representative must obtain, in just two months, 3,500 signatures in a district that he has never represented.

In addition, Santos must still face a trial, the tentative date of which is in September.

The former representative faces 23 federal charges related to alleged wire fraud, identity theft, campaign finance violations and other crimes. Santos, who admitted to lying about his work experience and college education during his previous campaign, pleaded not guilty to charges including lying to Congress about his assets, receiving unemployment benefits for which he was not eligible, and using campaign contributions to pay for personal items such as designer clothing.

After Santos’ announcement, New York Republicans charged against the former congressman.

“George Santos’ expulsion from Congress was good for the nation and his resignation from the Republican Party is good for commonsense conservatives,” his opponent LaLota said in a statement. “Santos can watch me defend this important swing district and the November election results from his prison cell as he’s being held accountable for stealing an election and ripping off donors.”

Likewise, Jesse García, chairman of the Suffolk County Republican Party, also questioned Santos.

“This is nothing more than the continuation of George Santos’ need for celebrity status,” García told the AP agency in a telephone interview. “There is no appetite amongst the voters of the First District, Long Island or even the nation for the Santos clown car show to continue.”