All eyes are on NY-3 after the outlandish short-lived tenure that newly-ousted congressman George Santos leaves behind. A month prior to being sworn into congress, a bombshell report from The New York Times revealed embellishments and lies on his resume after his election, and that would be the tip of the iceberg for everything else that would come out about Santos.
Despite the many calls to resign at the time, a stubborn Santos declared his intention back in April to run for reelection in 2024, unsurprisingly attracting many opponents and creating crowded primaries with many vying for their chance to take him on. However, after evading one expulsion vote and the House Ethics Committee unveiling a report detailing evidence of him violating federal crimes, Santos would soon change his tune. It would be too little too late before a second expulsion vote that would result in the decisive end to his future in the House. Now, Santos is relegated to social media stardom and the district has an upcoming special election to look forward to in February.
The Democrats have nominated former Rep. Tom Suozzi to take back his old seat, a strong contender for the 2024 general election, and the Republicans have yet to announce their candidate. While the parties each hand-pick their candidates for the special election, and the winner would serve out the rest of Santos’ term, the primaries and general election are still anybody’s game.
With Santos out of the way and a long list of contenders, here’s everyone who has already announced or has filed to run in the race for District 3 on Long Island in 2024. This post was last updated Dec. 12, 2023.
The Air Force veteran jumped in the race in early April, pitching himself as the person to “restore honesty and integrity” to the district, per his campaign website. Curry has raised slightly under $350,000 since launching, including $150,000 in the most recent fundraising quarter.
The retired New York City police detective announced that he would challenge Santos in July. Like Curry, he has focused on the idea of bringing honesty back to the seat. Sapraicone has already gained the support of former U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato, who remains influential in GOP circles, especially on Long Island. He currently leads the GOP pack in fundraising, having brought in over $550,000 since launching. Of that, $300,000 came from a loan Sapraicone gave his campaign.
Another Air Force veteran, Hach announced his bid to replace Santos in mid-August. He also co-founded a law firm in the aftermath of 9/11 that represented victims of the attack pro bono. Hach has so far raised $220,000.
Norber is one of the few announced candidates who lives in the small Queens part of the district. A former member of the Israeli military, he has said that he took particular issue with Santos’ lies about being Jewish. Norber has loaned his campaign $150,000 and otherwise raised $55,000.
Toes, whose campaign describes him as a political outsider, announced his campaign at the end of August. A press release announcing his bid said that he has lobbied members of Congress from both parties for “free-markets and common-sense regulation” as the president of the Security Traders Association. Toes has so far raised $46,000.
A young resident of Long Island who graduated from college in 2020 during the pandemic, Christofides is also a former intern for former Rep. Lee Zeldin while Zeldin served in Congress. Christofides’ website says he is running to prevent the federal government from “destroying the liberties of Long Islanders.” Christofides has not recorded any fundraising yet.
Thomas Charles Ludwig
Ludwig, a resident of Farmingdale and retired special forces officer, announced his campaign in early October. Ludwig has loaned his campaign $7,000, but has otherwise not recorded any contributions.
Manes, a doctor from Plainview, Long Island, filed with the FEC to run against Santos for 2024 in May. Manes told QNS that he intended on running for the congressional seat back in 2022, but stepped aside to let Santos win. However, after feeling “bamboozled” by the former representative, Manes decided to challenge him. He has no campaign presence online, and has not reported any fundraising.
Grillo, a veteran and former GOP Queens district leader, filed with the FEC on May 1. Grillo was recently found guilty of federal misdemeanor charges for the Jan. 6 insurrection. He was arrested in February 2021, and had denied involvement in the insurrection while he awaited trial. However, at trial, the Justice Department showed recordings of Grillo on surveillance video pushing against law enforcement and even filming himself saying “We f— did it, baby! We f— did it, you understand? We stormed the Capitol. We shut it down.” According to the Justice Department, Grillo also testified saying that he had “no idea” that Congress convened at the Capitol. His campaign has no online presence and he has not disclosed any fundraising.
So far the only candidate not running as part of either major party or as an independent, Kalata entered the race as a Libertarian. According to his website, Kalata does not live in the district, but feels it “needs better representation.” Abortion rights are expected to play a role in this and other elections with control of the House on the line, and Kalata stands apart from most other candidates in the race with a belief in the right to receive one until “right before giving birth,” according to his website. He has not recorded any fundraising.
The former member of Congress has returned and he wants his seat in the House back. Suozzi decided to give up his seat in 2022 in order to launch a failed bid for governor against Gov. Kathy Hochul. He lost that race and went to work for a consulting firm afterward, but now he’s got his eye on his old job. Since Suozzi’s early October announcement that he would launch his campaign, his would-be competitors Josh Lafazan, Zak Malamed, William Murphy and Anna Kaplan (for now) chose to drop out of the race in favor of endorsing him. On Dec. 7, Suozzi was selected as the Democratic nominee in the upcoming February special election to replace the recently ousted Santos. Since opening his campaign account, Suozzi recorded $500 in fundraising, but ended the filling period with $58,000 on hand thanks to leftovers from his 2022 campaign, according to September disclosures.
Behar is one of the only candidates announced so far to live in the Queens portion of the district. He has described himself as a “progressive capitalist,” differentiating himself from other progressive Democrats who have self-identified as socialists. Behar most recently ran for New York City Council this year against incumbent Council Member Linda Lee, and had run for the same seat in 2021 when it was open. He garnered negative attention during that earlier race for past vulgar comments he had posted online, in addition to criticism he received for comments he made during the race about Lee, who was running for the open seat as well. Before jumping into politics himself, Behar worked as former New York City Council Member Barry Grodenchick’s counsel for six years. He has not recorded any fundraising numbers yet.
Livingston has filed with the FEC to run for the 3rd Congressional District and has recorded raising about $122,000, but doesn’t appear to have any campaign presence online.
Cheng officially launched his campaign in late September, when he noted that he was the only Asian American in the race so far. Since then, he has raised $211,000 and invested $400,000 of his own cash into his race.
Nappo is running as an independent, the only one declared in the race so far. According to a Facebook page for his campaign – the only online presence – he plans to entirely self-fund his run for Congress. The campaign also features the tagline “You’ve voted for worse,” with an arrow pointing to a picture of Santos. Nappo has not recorded any fundraising numbers.
Correction: This post has been corrected to reflect the full slate of GOP challengers as of Sept. 1 and to add Austin Franklin Cheng to the list of Democratic challengers.