Former Rep. George Santos announced Thursday night that he will run for New York’s 1st Congressional District, challenging a Republican who voted to expel him from Congress.

“Tonight, I want to announce that I will be returning to the arena of politics and challenging Nick for the battle over #NY1,” Santos wrote on X, referring to Rep. Nick LaLota.

Santos argued that “New York hasn’t had a real conservative represent them since I left office arbitrarily, thanks to RINO, empty suits like [LaLota].”

“I look forward to debating him on the issues and on his weak record as a Republican,” he added.

The tweet was posted during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

Asked by NBC News about Santos’ announcement, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said, “I wasn’t aware he was doing that.”

In a fundraising post shortly after the announcement, LaLota said: “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. If finishing the job requires beating him in a primary, count me in.”

Santos was elected in 2022 to represent New York’s 3rd District, based in Long Island and Queens. He was part of a group of New York Republican representatives, elected in districts Biden won just two years earlier, who were instrumental in helping the GOP gain a majority in the House.

The other members, including LaLota and Rep. Mike Lawler, were vocal in their efforts to expel Santos after reports emerged that he had fabricated large parts of his résumé, including his college education, employment background and identity as “Jew-ish.”

A House ethics report released in November alleged that Santos spent campaign funds on luxury goods, Botox and OnlyFans payments. Santos denies the allegations, and in the wake of the report, he refused to step down but said he would not run for office again.

A few weeks later, the House voted to expel him 311-114, with 105 Republicans voting in favor. He became the sixth member of Congress ever to be expelled and the only one to be expelled without being convicted of a crime or having supported the Confederacy.

Since he left Congress, Santos has been active on social media and on the platform Cameo, where he is paid for short, personalized video messages. He has sued late night host Jimmy Kimmel for fraud and copyright infringement for allegedly using fake names to request videos that Kimmel played on his show.

Santos faces 23 federal charges, including identity theft and campaign finance fraud. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The primary will be June 25.

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