Nassau Legis. Josh Lafazan holds a news conference outside Rep....

Nassau Legis. Josh Lafazan holds a news conference outside Rep. George Santos’ office in Douglaston, Queens, on Jan. 13. Credit: Brittainy Newman for NYTimes/Brittainy Newman

Daily Point

Making it official

As far as the Federal Election Commission is concerned, there are two candidates running for New York’s 3rd Congressional District in the 2024 cycle: the incumbent, embattled Rep. George Santos, and — as of Monday — Josh Lafazan.

Those are the only two candidates who had filed Statements of Candidacy for the race as of Monday afternoon.

Lafazan’s new filing is another indication of the early level of seriousness with which he is pursuing a second run, after losing in his Democratic primary bid in the district in 2022. As The Point has reported, he has already been acting like a candidate both in his fundraising efforts and public appearances, though when asked earlier this month he said he planned to seek reelection to the Nassau County Legislature later this year.

Under federal campaign finance law, an individual is considered a candidate “once they raise or spend more than $5,000 in campaign activity,” FEC spokesman Christian Hilland emailed The Point. “Within 15 days of becoming a candidate, a Statement of Candidacy is required to be filed with the Commission.”

Candidates can also register with the FEC before reaching that monetary threshold. Expect to see more action on that front as the Santos saga spins.

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

George in Portuguese

George Santos hasn’t given a ton of in-depth interviews — and certainly not recently. But he had an extended videoconference conversation on Dec. 7 with the Brazilian outlets Piauí and Rádio Novelo, just before a New York Times story brought his lies to the forefront.

English-language readers can now see the highlights of that conversation, which was conducted in Portuguese, in a translated section of Piauí’s website.

  • The magazine notes that Santos hasn’t said much about having lived in Brazil, “even for a short period.”
    “What we now know is that in 2008, at age 19, he spent some time with his mother and sister Tiffany in Niterói, just across the bay from Rio de Janeiro, staying in the modest home of George’s maternal grandmother, Rosa,” the magazine reports. That was the year of Santos’ check fraud debacle at The Salt, “a multi-brand luxury retailer specializing in imported fashion.” Among the apparent victims of Santos’ act: the sales representative who served him, who the magazine says had his paycheck docked.
  • Santos claimed that in the summer of 2021 he was mugged coming out of a business engagement on Fifth Avenue and 55th St. He said the criminals stole his watch and briefcase, and also demanded his shoes.
    “At three in the afternoon,” he said. “And before you ask, they weren’t black; they were white, as a matter of fact.”
    The magazine got no response when it asked Santos for a police report about the incident, dryly noting, “In spite of the crowds, and in spite of the surveillance apparatus, what happened to Santos seemed more of a piece with the crimes committed in the poorest corners of the world.”
  • Santos said he lived in Whitestone, Queens with his husband and planned to donate his congressional salary, living off “dividends and distributions.” When the Republican was pressed for details about the dividends and wealth, Santos said, “Indiscreet question. Let’s just say that we live comfortably nowadays.”
  • And the magazine caught Santos in multiple apparent lies, a symbol of how often the newcomer plays fast and loose with the truth. “There are a total of three hundred drag shows per day in New York City schools,” Santos said, far above the tally of an estimate cited by Piauí.
  • It was not the only drag mention, long before a photo would emerge that was alleged to picture Santos in drag. Santos noted in the December interview that his and his pharmacist husband’s four dogs are named Anastacia, Aurora, Electra, and Elsa. “When asked jokingly if the dogs were named after drag queens, Santos bristled,” the magazine reported: “‘Hey, now. Aurora is from Sleeping Beauty; Elsa, from Frozen; Anastacia [sic], from the movie of the same name; and Electra is the daughter of Poseidon.’”

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

That's something

Credit: Creators.com/Bob Gorrell

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Quick Points

Predictabilities

  • Utterly predictable: Long Island Republican elected officials lining up to oppose Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to increase affordable housing. Also predictable: No plans yet on how to solve what many of them admit is a big problem.
  • The FBI found six more classified documents at President Joe Biden’s Delaware home, following similar discoveries Biden’s team described as a “small number” and a “handful” of such documents. Put enough drips together, though, and you get a flood.
  • After two years of strict COVID-19 clampdowns, China has loosened travel restrictions to allow hundreds of millions of Chinese residents to make traditional trips home for Lunar New Year. Just in time to exacerbate the nation’s already soaring COVID rates.
  • Three members of a family convicted of the fatal shooting of a Flint, Michigan store security guard in 2020 in a dispute over the store’s masking requirements were sentenced to life in prison. It was a different example of how a bad response to COVID can be pretty much a death sentence.
  • GOP Rep. James Comer, the new head of the House Oversight committee, said that investigating President Joe Biden’s family is “like tracking a bleeding bear through a snowstorm. I mean, there’s evidence everywhere.” We didn’t hear such natural-world analogies from the GOP when it came to investigating the previous president.
  • Former Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, citing reasons for considering a 2024 presidential run, said, “I’ve never lost a race.” She’s also never run for president.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie