Former congressman George Santos leaves the Alfonse D’Amato Federal Courthouse...

Former congressman George Santos leaves the Alfonse D’Amato Federal Courthouse on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023 in Central Islip. Credit: Howard Schnapp

WASHINGTON — Former Rep. George Santos, who was expelled from the U.S. House last year over alleged ethical violations, has abandoned his bid to run for New York’s 1st Congressional District seat as an independent.

Santos, a Republican who once represented the 3rd Congressional District, announced on the social media site X on Tuesday that he no longer planned to run for the seat currently held by Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville).

Santos, who is still awaiting trial on federal charges stemming from his 2022 campaign and allegations that he defrauded campaign donors, said he was dropping his latest congressional bid in order to keep the seat in Republican hands.

“I don’t want to split the ticket and be responsible for handing the house to Dems,” Santos wrote in his X post.

Democrats John Avlon, a former CNN political commentator and journalist, and Nancy Goroff, the former chair of Stony Brook University’s chemistry department, are currently running in the June Democratic primary as both look to unseat LaLota, a first-term incumbent.

Santos’ removal from office forced a special election in February that led to the reelection of Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove). Suozzi’s victory and a number of early Republican retirements mean the GOP holds only a razor-thin voting majority in the House.

Santos drew attention in March, when he showed up at President Joe Biden's State of the Union address to Congress, and announced in an X post he would look to stage a Republican primary bid against LaLota.

LaLota responded to Santos' Tuesday announcement on X, taking aim at Santos’ upcoming federal trial, which is expected to start in September in Central Islip.

“Chat GPT translation: He’s taking a plea deal,” LaLota wrote, referring to the artificial intelligence software.

Santos has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

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