Scarcely four months after he was expelled from the House of Representatives and bitterly swore his intent never to return, George Santos went back on his word and declared his intent to run again.

Mr. Santos made the announcement on Thursday evening after returning to Washington to attend the State of the Union address, where he made use of the lifetime floor privileges given to members of the House. And as he had done throughout his brief tenure on Capitol Hill, he attempted to seize the spotlight, posting the news on social media in the middle of President Biden’s speech.

The disgraced former representative, who was expelled from office after an overwhelming bipartisan vote and faces 23 felony counts in an unresolved criminal case, made his announcement on Thursday evening on social media. He said the decision had followed “a lot of prayer” and consultation with friends and family members.

Mr. Santos will not run for his old seat, in Long Island and Queens, for which Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, recently won a special election. Instead, Mr. Santos said that he would attempt to unseat Representative Nick LaLota in New York’s First Congressional District, on Long Island’s eastern end.

Mr. Santos filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday designating a campaign committee and declaring his intent to challenge Mr. LaLota in the Republican primary in June.

“I have made several personal sacrifices in the name of serving the American people,” Mr. Santos wrote in a post on X.com that made only vague allusions to his historic expulsion from Congress. “My promise is that I will never back down because of my love for this country.”

Mr. Santos also made it clear that he would attempt to run to Mr. LaLota’s right, arguing that “New York hasn’t had a real conservative represent them since I left office arbitrarily,” a statement that misrepresents the circumstances under which he was expelled from Capitol Hill.

It was not clear if Mr. Santos intended to run a serious campaign; he will be hard-pressed to raise money from donors, and he has lost all standing among local Republican leaders and most voters.

His attention may also be divided: His criminal trial is scheduled for September, if plea discussions fail. And he has also suggested plans for involvement in a reality television show.

More than two-thirds of the House voted to expel Mr. Santos after a House Ethics Committee report concluded there was “substantial evidence” that Mr. Santos had broken federal laws and cast his political career as a grift he had used to enrich himself.

Mr. LaLota — who, like Mr. Santos, won election in 2022 — was one of the first Republicans in Congress to call for Mr. Santos to resign, just days after they both took office last year. He was one of the leaders of a group of New York Republicans who pushed their colleagues to expel Mr. Santos after he was indicted last May; the effort gained momentum after Mr. Santos was hit with even more charges in October.

“To raise the standard in Congress, and to hold a pathological liar who stole an election accountable, I led the charge to expel George Santos,” Mr. LaLota said in a statement released Thursday night. “If finishing the job requires beating him in a primary, count me in.”

Mr. LaLota already has a substantial war chest. He reported $1.2 million cash on hand at the end of the last reporting period.

Mr. Santos is facing charges of money laundering, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, as prosecutors have said that, among other things, he swindled donors, filed false campaign reports and collected unemployment when he was in fact employed. A report from the House Ethics Committee released last year found that he had also spent campaign funds on Botox, designer goods and a website known for explicit content.


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Credit: NYTimes.com

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