I live in New York's 3rd Congressional District, and on Nov. 8, 2022, I voted for the Republican candidate, George Santos.
Even though I have been a conservative activist in the Empire State for over half a century and have written three books on New York politics, I must confess, I paid little attention to the race to succeed retiring Democrat congressman, Tom Suozzi.
First of all, I didn't think a Republican could carry the district, which encompasses the North Shore of Queens and Nassau counties. Biden had handily carried the area in 2020 as did Hillary Clinton in 2016. And Santos, the Republican sacrificial lamb in 2020, lost to Congressman Suozzi by 13 points.
Secondly, the Nassau County GOP threw Santos under the bus. The organization devoted its efforts and resources to electing favorite son, Anthony D'Esposito, in the 4th Congressional District.
Third, the Democrat candidate running against Santos, Robert Zimmerman, a New York member of the National Democratic Committee, was perceived as a shoo-in. Not only did Zimmerman have plenty of campaign funds, he was friendly with many Republicans. (He served as a pallbearer at the funeral mass of longtime GOP Nassau County leader Joe Mondello in early 2022.)
On election night, serving as a conservative commentator on the all-news station, 1010 WINS, I was shocked when early returns indicated that Santos held a lead.
Making a few calls during a commercial break, I learned that while Zimmerman was carrying Santos' home turf, Queens County (only 10% of the district), he was trailing badly in his home county of Nassau.
When the final votes were tallied, the political establishment folks were dumbfounded when they realized gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin's Long Island Red wave swept Santos into office.
Santos' victory, and the three other GOP congressional pickups in New York, provided the votes that give the Republicans the majority control needed to elect the speaker of the House.
The elation over the 3rd Congressional District upset, however, has been short-lived due to a New York Times investigation that revealed the life story Santos promoted is an outrageous lie.
Santos lied about his family background, his religion, his education, his employment history, his wealth, and his real estate holdings.
Embellishing one's resume and lying about one's background is not a crime. If it were, Joe Biden would not be president, he would be serving hard time in prison.
Lest we forget, Biden has lied about his educational achievements, his family background, and has padded his resume.
But, George Santos, a financial deadbeat — who has been evicted from two apartments for not paying rent — did more than "embellish" as he told Fox News and the New York Post. The delusional man created a fantasy life.
His preposterous defense, "everybody does it," indicated to me that he lacks integrity and cannot be trusted by his constituents.
The crucial question is: How did Santos get away with his false narrative?
Obviously, both Democrats and Republicans fell down on the job. Democrats because they believed the 3rd Congressional District was safely blue, and Republicans because they did not have a quality candidate willing to run.
As for Zimmerman, considering he is a political consultant, I cannot fathom why he didn't hire a top-notch opposition researcher. Perhaps it was overconfidence, perhaps he was just a lousy candidate. (The 69-year-old Zimmerman lost three previous races for public office.)
While Congressman Santos may not be expelled for deceiving voters, he might get nailed by federal prosecutors because his campaign finance filings state he loaned his election fund $700,000.
But where did the money come from?
Santos claimed that the money came from his consulting company, The Devolder Organization. A New York Times investigation could not "find any property or public-facing assets linked to the firm."
If the $700,000 was procured illegally, Santos will be in deep trouble. The matter clearly needs to be investigated.
Santos' appalling antics reminds me of the hijinks of Mel Brooks' characters in his movie, "The Producers."
In that film, the crooked Broadway producer, Max Bialystock, and his accountant, Leopold Bloom, realize "a producer can make a lot of money with a flop then a hit by overselling shares in the production, because no one will audit the books of a play presumed to have lost money."
The guaranteed flop the schemers produced turned out to be a box office hit and the two were convicted of fraud and sentenced to time in the slammer.
We do not have any evidence Santos committed financial fraud, but perhaps Santos thought his second run for Congress would be a "flop," so his lies would not matter.
But lo and behold, he was a "hit" at the ballot box and that success is blowing up in his face.
If Congressman Santos is repentant, he will resign and seek vindication in a special election. That, however, is unlikely to happen because Santos has demonstrated he lacks the strength of moral character to be honest with himself, let alone with the public.
George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact," and "Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy." Read George J. Marlin's Reports — More Here.
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