George Santos is a private equity executive who pledged in his congressional campaign video he would not receive a salary on Capitol Hill if elected
The House Republicans’ campaign arm is pouring resources into suburban Long Island ahead of the November midterm elections, where a seat vacated by outgoing Democrat Rep. Tom Suozzi gave the GOP the chance to add another legislator to its congressional delegation in New York .
Out of that vacuum of New York’s Third Congressional District emerged George Santos, a Republican private equity executive who proudly labeled himself a “running contradiction.”
‘I’m just authentic, authentic me. I’m gay, yes. I am Latino, yes. I am a Republican, without any apology,” Santos told DailyMail.com in a telephone interview.
As the son of Brazilian immigrants, he said the American dream that his family experienced “is threatened by much of the stuff sold in Congress and in state houses.”
“I think it’s under threat, but it’s not too late, that’s why I’m running for Congress,” he said.
He also described hostility from Democrats over his political affiliation despite his identity.
“I am a Latino gay man who is a Republican. Isn’t that a contradiction in itself? And I say that funny because that’s what the Democratic Party has taught the people to believe in anyway,” Santos said.
“That if you’re a minority… you can’t be a conservative.”
Santos said he and his husband have been “despised” in New York’s gay community for their Republican beliefs, and he even suggested he was barred from major public events such as the annual New York City Pride Parade.
“I’m not welcome at all at the New York City Pride Parade. I am not welcomed, that has been made clear to me several times,” said Santos.
He has a shot at an open seat in New York’s Third Congressional District, which covers parts of suburban Long Island and northern parts of the Queens borough of New York City.
He told DailyMail.com that he and his husband have been shunned from New York’s gay community because of their political beliefs
He made headlines earlier in January when he wrote on Twitter that his husband, a pharmacist by trade, was fired after the couple attended a holiday party at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
Santos recalls the incident and said it is an “understatement” to say they felt pressure from the LGBTQ community.
“We’ve been scorned, exposed, I mean I don’t even know what word to use. But we are persona non grata in the gay community in New York City,” he said.
“I’m not welcome because I don’t think like them… they think I’m a self-hating homophobe.”
During the interview, Santos also described how he grew up in the New York borough of Queens, and how his family experienced temporary financial difficulties, forcing him to drop out of the preparatory high school he attended.
Still wanting to go to college with his peers, Santos instead worked for his high school equivalency diploma, or GED. Now he hopes his perseverance can inspire others.
“Whatever the circumstances, the road that led you here, you’re here — just as I was because of financial difficulties — but that doesn’t make you any less, it doesn’t diminish your merit,” Santos says. said. “That you’re still doing it, that’s what matters.”
Santos is the son of Brazilian immigrants who left home separately to pursue their American dream and met in the US (pictured with his mother)
Santos told DailyMail.com he’s running for Congress to keep the American dream (pictured with his father)
And his race has caught the attention of the House Republican leadership.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy backed Santos in July, declaring in a statement that he is “the right man for New York’s third congressional district.”
“George is the embodiment of the American dream and I am confident he will fight tooth and nail to protect and defend it,” McCarthy said.
“If George wins in November and we take the House back, we will work together to stop Joe Biden from doing any more damage to our great country.”
Santos is also supported by GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, who represents New York’s northernmost district.
In a campaign video released in June 2021, Santos promised not to take a salary while in office.
The 2022 midterm elections will be the second time he is running for the seat in New York’s third congressional district.
Santos ran against Suozzi in 2020 and lost by about 12 points.
This time, however, he believes the suburban left-wing voters in his district are fed up with their current representation.
The race has caught the attention of high-profile Republicans such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik
“Democrats in office do not represent ordinary Democrats who elected them,” Santos said. “They’re not, because if they were, they’d understand that people are hurting here.”
He cited skyrocketing inflation and gas prices that, although they have fallen significantly in recent weeks, still remain above $4 a gallon in his native New York.
“Why don’t they help the constituency that elected them? And honestly, I think they just don’t care. They’re drunk with power,’ Santos said.
His message to voters, Santos said, is, “Send me to Congress to reduce this mess.”
The predominantly white, upper-middle-class district includes parts of northern Queens and the Long Island neighborhoods of Glen Cove, Hicksville, Northport, and Huntington.
Before the Democrats flipped the district in 2012, it was represented for 20 years by retired Republican Congressman Pete King.
King transferred to the neighboring Second Congressional District that year, where he served until early 2021.
And it looks like Democrats are in for a new political upheaval after being engulfed by a red wave in Long Island’s local elections last year.
Even in Nassau County, where Suozzi’s home, Glen Cove, is located, the Democratic county board was expected to be defeated by a Republican challenger, while a GOP candidate also won the area’s open prosecutor. .
Suozzi’s own margin of victory shrank significantly from 2018 to 2020, though he announced last year that he is not up for re-election to bid for New York governor — a primary race he lost to incumbent Kathy Hochul.
The unbiased Cook Political Report rates the district as a blow to the head this year, estimating the Democrats’ advantage on just two counts.
Five Democrats are now competing in a crowded primary to fill Suozzi’s spot on the ticket, with their primary on August 23.