EXCLUSIVE: Taking aim at what he calls “radicalized Democrats” and saying “don’t NYC my Long Island,” Republican George Santos on Thursday announced his candidacy for Congress in a mostly suburban district on New York’s Long Island that the GOP is eyeing.
In a campaign launch video shared first with Fox News, Santos targeted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as he said, “The politicians in Manhattan are destroying New York City and we don’t want those bad policies here in Long Island. We see the devastating effects and we want nothing to do with it.”
Santos, who’s making his second straight bid for Congress, charged that “failed leadership from the radicalized Democrats have turned New York City into a third-world hellhole, and we cannot let that happen in Long Island.”
Republican candidate George Santos launches his campaign for the House of Representatives in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, in a campaign video on June 10, 2021.
And criticizing Ocasio-Cortez, the two-term congresswoman from New York City and the most high-profile member of the group of diverse and progressive House Democrats known as the “Squad,” Santos said she “thinks socialism is good idea. She calls it democratic socialism, which is basically just socialism with glitter on it. Call it whatever you want – it’s anti-freedom, anti-American, and it sucks.”
Santos, a first-generation American whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Brazil, is running in New York’s 3rd Congressional District. The House district includes most of the North Shore of Long Island – from northwest Suffolk County, across northern Nassau County, and into the northeastern corner of the New York City borough of Queens.
The district was represented for two decades by former Republican Rep. Peter King. But the Democrats have controlled the seat since winning it in the 2012 election, first by then-Rep. Steve Israel and currently by Rep. Tom Suozzi, who was first elected in 2016.
Suozzi won his 2018 reelection by 18 points, but his margin of victory dropped to 12 points as he topped Santos last November. Suozzi is one of 47 House Democrats the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP reelection arm, is targeting in the 2022 cycle.
Republicans controlled the House for eight years before losing the majority in the chamber in the 2018 midterms amid a wave by House Democrats. But while Republicans lost the White House and their Senate majority in the 2020 contests, in the battle for the House, they defied expectations and took a big bite out of the Democrats’ majority and only need a net gain of five seats in 2022 to regain control of the chamber.
In a statement announcing his campaign launch, Santos argued that “while Suozzi is a rubber-stamp for Pelosi’s radical socialist policies, I’ll be a strong independent voice for the 3rd district.”
Santos, an executive in the private equity industry, pledged in his video to “never take a salary.”
The candidate, who is gay and is also the grandson of Holocaust survivors, spotlighted that “my family fled socialist regimes not once but twice.”
“Democratic socialists want to control you,” he noted as he reemphasized his theme of connecting Democrats to socialists, which takes a page from a GOP playbook that was successful to a degree in House races in the 2020 election.
And Santos vowed that he would “fight socialism until my last dying death.”