Heard Around Town

Challengers soar past George Santos in fundraising

The embattled incumbent Congress member is being outraised by Democratic challengers and a Republican vying for the seat.

Rep. George Santos (center) departs federal court with his attorney Joseph Murray (left) on June 30, 2023, in Central Islip, NY.

Rep. George Santos (center) departs federal court with his attorney Joseph Murray (left) on June 30, 2023, in Central Islip, NY. Howard Schnapp/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Democrat Josh Lafazan has raised over $555,000 so far in his bid to unseat the embattled Rep. George Santos, according to Lafazan’s campaign. And he’s not the only one putting the incumbent Republican’s campaign coffers to shame.

Fundraising reports for the second quarter of the year started to be released Friday, and while Santos fared better than he did in the first quarter, at least three of his opponents are outraising him. 

Santos, who lied about huge swaths of his resume and background, is now facing a federal criminal charge – and reportedly a Department of Justice investigation into his campaign finances.

The Long Island Republican raised about $133,000 between April and June, according to campaign finance filings released Friday. An affiliated committee called Devolder Santos Victory Committee has raised about $17,000 since January. 

Santos used $85,000 of what he took in to start to pay himself back for $700,000 in loans that he previously reported making to his campaign.

The combined total of roughly $150,000 raised for Santos over the past few months was easily outdone by several of his competitors. 

Lafazan, elected to the Nassau County Legislature as an independent, came in third in the 2022 Democratic primary in the 3rd Congressional District. In his repeat bid for the seat, Lafazan raised over $202,000 in the second quarter, his campaign told City & State on Friday. Lafazan’s latest finance report had not yet been filed as of Friday afternoon, but his campaign said that he has so far raised more than $555,000 in total.

Former Democratic state Sen. Anna Kaplan, who entered the race in May, raised roughly $455,000 through the end of June, according to her campaign finance filing. That includes $190,000 Kaplan loaned to her own campaign, plus $7,200 she donated to her own campaign.

Democrat Zak Malamed, founder of a democracy nonprofit, reported earlier this week raising $417,000 in just six weeks since entering the race.

Republican Kellen Curry, a veteran and former vice president at JP Morgan, is mounting a primary challenge to Santos and has raised over $200,000. Santos has faced bipartisan calls to resign, including from his neighboring Republican Congress members, and he isn’t expected to get local Republicans’ support this time around.