Accused Jan. 6 rioter, Great Neck resident file to run for 3rd Congressional District

Accused Jan. 6 rioter, Great Neck resident file to run for 3rd Congressional District

A Queens man charged with storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 notified the Federal Election Commission last week that he will run against U.S. Rep. George Santos in the state’s 3rd Congressional District election next year.

Philip Sean Grillo was identified by federal officials wearing a Knights of Columbus jacket on the day he allegedly stormed the Capitol.

Grillo told Newsday his desire to run against Santos, who he no longer supports, is to ensure former 3rd District U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) does not reclaim his seat.

Efforts to reach Grillo for further comment were unavailing.

Grillo, who is awaiting trial from the insurrection, was charged with unlawful entry on restricted buildings or grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and obstruction of justice/Congress. He was initially arrested in February 2021, according to officials.

Grillo said he is a veteran of the Marine Corps who was formerly working as a pest management professional.

Santos made his announcement to seek re-election last month, despite his lack of support from local and state Republican groups.

A press release on Santos’ stationery described the controversial representative as “a dependable conservative vote in Congress and a fearless champion of conservative values.”

He now faces a 13-count indictment composed of seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to Congress. Santos pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday.

Great Neck resident Zak Malamed announced on Monday he will be running on the Democratic line for the seat currently held by Santos.

Malamed, 29, is the co-founder of an advocacy group called The Next 50. He has combatted gun violence, working with former state Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and speaking at a variety of rallies and school events.

“I spent the last four years defeating MAGA Republicans across the country in some of the most competitive districts and states, and now, the reality is that the things that I had to fight outside of home, have come home,” Malamed said in a press release Monday. “New Yorkers are hungry for fresh leadership, and this district will be crucial for taking back the majority in Washington—I’m ready to bring the fight and win this seat back.”

Other Democrats who have filed to run for the seat include former state Sen. Anna Kaplan, Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan and attorney Will Murphy.

Kaplan is an Iranian immigrant whose parents sent her to the United States for her safety and was an active member of the Great Neck community before her time in government. She was elected to serve the Town of North Hempstead’s 4th District as a councilwoman in 2011.

In 2016, she sought election to the House of Representatives but lost to current Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) in the Democratic primary. Kaplan defeated former Flower Hill Mayor Elaine Phillips in 2018 to represent the 7th Senate District. 

In 2022, she lost to Republican Jack Martins, who previously served the 7th Senate District.

Lafazan ran against Robert Zimmerman, whose name has been included in lists of other potential candidates for the election, in the district’s Democratic primary last year. Zimmerman won the primary but lost to Santos in the general election

Murphy, 39, is a legal studies professor at St. John’s University, according to his campaign biography. Born in Mineola, Murphy now lives in Farmingdale with his wife, Megan and his 3-year-old son Connor.

Republican Kellen Curry has also filed to run in next year’s 3rd District election and discussed the need to bring transparency back to Long Island and Queens.

“What we’re really focusing on right now is making sure that we draw attention to the current state of leadership,” Curry said in an interview two weeks ago. “Quite frankly, nothing happens if we don’t have leadership that we can believe in.”

Curry, a Queens resident who lives just outside the 3rd District, is an Afghanistan war veteran and former vice president at J.P. Morgan. Curry completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan and currently serves in the Air Force Reserves, according to his campaign website.

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