House Speaker Johnson travels to New York to fund-raise for state reps

House Speaker Johnson travels to New York to fund-raise for state reps
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, of Louisiana. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA), spent the weekend fund-raising in New York, helping to bring in over $1 million for state Republicans, according to the New York Post. 

New York will be pivotal in either maintaining the House for Republicans or swinging it to Democrats in 2024. Along with the special election to replace ex-Rep. George Santos in the 3rd Congressional District, Anthony D’Esposito of the 4th Congressional District and fellow freshman representatives Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro and Brandon Williams are expected to face competitive races. Each congressman represents a district that was won by President Joe Biden in 2020.  

Without Santos, the party now has a 221-213 majority in the House. 

On Johnson’s schedule Saturday was a fund-raising event for D’Esposito at The General, a private steakhouse and cigar club in East Meadow. Included in the invitation from Nassau County Republican Committee Chair Joe Cairo was the opportunity for attendees to be an “event host” for $13,200, an “event sponsor” for $6,600 or a “patriot” for $3,300.  

Johnson told the audience at one of the weekend’s events in Manhattan that he will become “an honorary New Yorker” in the upcoming election cycle, according to the Post.

Laura Gillen, the former Democratic Town of Hempstead supervisor who lost to D’Esposito last year in the 4th Congressional District, was critical of D’Esposito’s ties to Johnson. 

“Anthony D’Esposito’s decision to support and campaign with election denier Mike Johnson shows he has fully embraced the extreme MAGA agenda,” Gillen said in a statement. “Johnson is raising money for D’Esposito to protect his far-right majority so that together they can ban abortion with no exceptions, slash Social Security and Medicare, and destroy our democracy.”

Gillen was also critical of D’Esposito’s connection to Santos and questioned what D’Esposito knew about Santos’ embellished life before it came under scrutiny. 

“Santos’ lies were so prolific and over-the-top that ultimately, Anthony D’Esposito either knew something and turned a blind eye or he’s the worst former detective ever,” Gillen said.

Nancy Marks, the former campaign treasurer for Santos who pleaded guilty in October to conspiring to commit wire fraud, also worked with D’Esposito’s campaign. 

Marks served as treasurer for the Santos D’Esposito Nassau Victory Fund, a joint fund-raising committee between the two representatives, and both made filings with the FEC with Marks serving as treasurer of the fund. 

D Esposito’s campaign previously denied having a working relationship with Marks to Blank Slate Media, saying the campaign “never received any funds from the now defunct joint account in question.”

D’Esposito was one of Santos’ fiercest critics who pushed to expel him, submitting a resolution to do so earlier this year and voting him out last week. 

Through three quarters of the year, D’Esposito has outraised his Democrat challengers, according to the FEC.

At the end of September, D’Esposito reported having $1.1 million cash on hand while Gillen reported $391,336 and state Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown) reported $111,115 in the bank. 

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