Santos goes to Manhattan to back Trump, gets new GOP challenger for ’24 race

Santos goes to Manhattan to back Trump, gets new GOP challenger for ’24 race
George Santos celebrating his victory in the state's 3rd Congressional District election. (Photo by Brandon Duffy)

Embattled U.S. Rep. George Santos traveled to Manhattan Tuesday to support former President Donald Trump ahead of his arraignment, while another GOP candidate announced he will challenge Santos for the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat in 2024.

The 3rd District representative, who faces a slew of investigations into his personal, professional and financial background, joined the crowd of roughly 1,000, including fellow GOP U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, outside Manhattan Criminal Court.  Santos told NBC News his message to the former president is “stay strong” and “the people are with him.”

Santos left after a brief appearance in Manhattan where reporters and media outlets flocked around the congressman. He told NBC he would not be returning to the event because the media presence made it “unbearable” for him to stay.

“I came to support the president, but I’ve decided to leave,” Santos told an NBC reporter. “You guys win. Look at that, you should be so proud of yourself.”

Santos notably attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 where Trump spoke in a prelude to the violence that engulfed the Capitol.

Trump arrived in New York City for his arraignment Tuesday where he pleaded not guilty to 34 Class E felony charges of falsifying business records. The charges stem from a $130,000 payment Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, made in 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her keeping quiet about an alleged affair she had with Trump and a $150,000 payment to Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed she also had an affair with the former president in 2006.

Trump has denied the alleged encounters with the two women took place.

As Santos continues to face a myriad of allegations, he now has a Republican challenger in the 2024 primary election. Kellen Curry, a former vice president at J.P. Morgan and an Afghanistan war veteran, launched his campaign against Santos Monday.

Curry, in a statement, said heightening accountability in Washington through ethics reforms, making Long Island more affordable and strengthening national defense are some of his main priorities.

“I come from a family of public servants so I am excited to be running for Congress and re-entering public service once again,” Curry said. “I look forward to working with the residents of New York’s 3rd Congressional District who have been enduring an absence of leadership in Washington since January 2023.”

Curry completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan and currently serves in the Air Force Reserves, according to his campaign website. After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2009, Curry was on active duty for eight years, delivering cybersecurity technology to the military.

Curry has an MBA from the George Washington University School of Business and an Master’s of Science in Sports Business. He most recently served as a vice president for J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Banking Division from 2019-2023.

Efforts to reach a Santos representative for official comment were unavailing.

Santos, in a letter to the Federal Election Commission last month, said he will be running for re-election in 2024, despite GOP groups including the Nassau County Republican Committee saying they will not back him going forward.

Contributions have been made to Devolder-Santos for Congress, which has been designated as the embattled congressman’s campaign finance committee.

The House Ethics Committee launched a formal investigation into Santos earlier this year and will scrutinize his most recent congressional campaign, officials announced.

The committee will determine if the admitted liar failed to properly disclose information and statements to Congress, engaged in sexual misconduct with someone seeking employment in his D.C. office and violated potential federal conflict of interest laws.

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