Former Rep. Tom Suozzi of New York, who retired from Congress last year after a failed gubernatorial bid, launched a campaign to win back his old seat, currently held by Republican Rep. George Santos, whose 13-count criminal indictment from earlier this year was updated Tuesday with 10 new charges.
Suozzi, a Democrat who served three terms in the House, on Tuesday said he would file to run for the seat that encompasses parts of Long Island and Queens, potentially setting up a rematch with Santos, whom he defeated in the 2020 election — if both can manage to win their party’s nominations.
“The madness in Washington, DC, and the absurdity of George Santos remaining in the United States Congress is obvious to everyone,” Suozzi said in a statement.
“You know me. I’ve never sat on the sidelines. From the cost-of-living to immigration, crime, climate change, combatting terrorism in the Middle East and globally, and simply helping people, we need more common sense and compassion and less chaos and senseless fighting,” he said.
The new charges against Santos include an allegation he worked to steal personal and financial information of campaign donors and charge their credit cards without their consent. He is accused of using one donor’s card to make approximately $44,800 in charges and charging $12,000 that was transferred to his personal bank account.
The new counts also allege Santos’ disclosures to the Federal Election Commission were falsely inflated by saying he’d made a $500,000 personal loan to the campaign so he could receive support from a national Republican party organization.
Santos’ former campaign treasurer pleaded guilty last week to a federal criminal conspiracy charge related to the 2022 campaign.
Suozzi is joining an already crowded Democratic field looking to take on Santos, who has rejected calls to resign after he was indicted on 13 counts including fraud, money laundering and lying on financial disclosure forms. News reports also found that Santos had fabricated much of his personal biography during his campaign for Congress.
National Democrats have focused on a half-dozen districts in New York in their effort to win back the House majority next year, including the 3rd District. A net gain of five House seats would give Democrats control.
Suozzi had $61,000 left in his congressional campaign account and $10,000 in debts on June 30, according to FEC filings. Five Democratic candidates have reported raising money with the FEC as of the end of June. Nassau County legislator Josh Lafazan had $382,000 on hand, while former state Sen. Anna Kaplan had $390,000.
Santos had $86,000 on hand as of June 30. Third-quarter fundraising reports are due to the FEC by Oct. 15.
Suozzi defeated Santos by 13 points in 2020. Suozzi’s 2022 gubernatorial campaign was his second bid for the office, after he also lost a 2006 Democratic primary for governor.
A former mayor and Nassau County executive, Suozzi was a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus and sat on the Ways and Means Committee while he was in the House.
New York Democrats are seeking to redraw their congressional map ahead of the 2024 elections after the redistricting process last year resulted in a special master drawing a map. An appeals court ordered the state Legislature to restart the process, but that decision is being appealed and the case is pending.
Chris Marquette contributed to this report.