The next congressional election is still a year and a half away, but the roster of candidates lining up to evict Rep. George Santos from his House seat is already sizable — and could grow even larger.

The scandal-plagued freshman lawmaker announced his own reelection bid in New York’s 3rd District last month.

What You Need To Know

  • The roster of candidates lining up to evict Rep. George Santos from his House seat is already sizable — and could grow even larger

  • Among the candidates are military veteran Kellen Curry, a Republican, and Nassau County legislator Josh Lafazan, a Democrat. Both argue that Santos cannot continue on in this role

  • Santos, who is embroiled in scandal, announced his own reelection bid in New York’s 3rd District last month

Among the declared candidates is a GOP primary challenger: Kellen Curry, a veteran who later worked for JP Morgan.

“I am everything that he wants to be,” Curry said of Santos.

He argues that while Santos could not win another election in this district, he could.

This is Curry’s first bid for public office. He says as a Black Republican, he can build a diverse coalition.

“I will use my background as a military veteran, as a military officer, to lead on the issue of national security,” he said. “I’m deeply troubled by the way in which this administration has left Afghanistan. We no longer have a human intelligence capability there.”

Across the aisle, Nassau County legislator Josh Lafazan has thrown his hat into the ring. He has been critical of Santos since the allegations against him first surfaced - even introducing ethics legislation inspired by the congressman.

“George Santos is a disgrace to the House of Representatives. He does not represent us here,” Lafazan said.

Lafazan, 29, says he will help usher in a new generation of leadership. He labels addressing affordability on Long Island a top priority.

“I have never minded to buck my party. And I’ve never shied away from building coalitions of whoever will work with me to get things done,” he said.

Other Democrats have also filed statements of candidacy, including former state Sen. Anna Kaplan, who fled Iran as a teenager, as well as St. John’s University professor Will Murphy, who is making his first run for office.

“The really, really bad reality show being put on by career con artists in Washington, D.C. for far too long now must end,” Murphy said in an Instagram post.

Santos has been battered by allegations he lied about his work experience and education, and by questions about his campaign finances.

Last month, Spectrum News NY1 asked him why he would be the best choice for voters in the face of a potentially large field of challengers.

“So long as I keep the promises I’ve made in the campaign as far as being conservative, fiscally responsible, against crime, I think that’s going to pay back and that’s going to pay out,” he said.

There is the potential for this field to grow even more.

For instance, CNBC reports that Democrat Tom Suozzi, who gave up this seat to mount an unsuccessful bid for governor last year, is considering a run.

The Top of the Ticket

The contest in New York’s 3rd District will be on the same ballot as next year’s presidential election.

Asked if he believes former President Donald Trump should be his party’s nominee in 2024, Curry called for letting the primary process play out, saying he looks forward to hearing from the various candidates.

“Trump is going to be Trump,” Curry said. “There are things that I like about Trump. I liked the tax cuts that made our corporations more competitive globally. I liked his reorientation to China. I liked his strong record on Israel.”

Asked if he is comfortable with President Joe Biden being the Democratic nominee, Lafazan said, “Joe Biden will be our nominee and I’m proud to be on the ticket.”

On the Issues

Washington is currently embroiled in a debate over how to avoid default.

House Republicans recently passed a proposal to raise the debt ceiling while slashing trillions in federal spending over the next decade. The White House, meanwhile, is calling for raising the debt ceiling without cuts.

When asked if he believes the White House should negotiate with Republicans, Lafazan said, “The concept for my generation that Congress would potentially default on our debt is preposterous.”

“My generation is sickened at the fact that our elected leaders - many of them in their 60s, 70s and 80s — are behaving like children,” he continued.

Democrats, meanwhile, are likely to hit Republicans over abortion rights in the next election cycle.

Asked for his reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and the recent fight in federal courts over access to abortion drug Mifepristone, Curry said, “I am pro-life. I do believe that the government has a role to play in encouraging women and families to choose life, to create a culture of life in our country.”

But, he continued, he believes the GOP must be “compassionate” and talk more “comprehensively” about the issue of women’s health.