U.S. Rep. George Santos’s Democratic opponent clapped back at him on Twitter after the first-term congressman made a snide comment about his opponent’s appearance.
Josh Lafazan, 28, is a Nassau County Legislator who’s held office for the past decade, and who recently announced his candidacy for the 3rd Congressional District seat currently held by Santos.
He previously ran to be the Democratic nominee for the seat last cycle, but lost the primary to Robert Zimmerman.
Since being elected, Santos has come under scrutiny for fabricating parts of his biography, for alleged campaign finance violations, and alleged ethics violations. He is currently being investigated by a congressional subcommittee of the House Ethics Committee looking into accusations of financial wrongdoing, as well as accusations of sexual misconduct made by a former prospective staffer.
Needless to say, with the host of negative press that Santos received earlier this year, Lafazan has not been shy about attacking the congressman over several issues.
On Saturday, Lafazan tweeted, “Unlike @Santos4Congress, I didn’t have to lie to get elected. My credentials are clean, I’m actually Jewish, & unlike yours, my diploma from Harvard is real,” with a smiling emoji at the end of the message, as first reported by the LGBTQ website Queerty.
“Real like your chin?” Santos shot back, including an old photo of Lafazan showing him without as prominent a jawline.
“Corrective jaw surgery helped me breathe normally & saved my life,” Lafazan shot back. “My insurance covered it, & it’s why I’m fighting so hard for universal health care. You are beneath the office you hold. And I can’t wait to replace you in Congress, in 2024 or sooner. Send postcards from jail.”
Corrective jaw surgery helped me breathe normally & saved my life. My insurance covered it, & it’s why I’m fighting so hard for universal health care
You are beneath the office you hold. And I can’t wait to replace you in Congress, in 2024 or sooner.
Send postcards from jail 👋 https://t.co/3JYlOnSqna
— Josh Lafazan (@JoshLafazan) April 15, 2023
“I see the real @Santos4Congress has shown up in all of his priggish glory. I am sure the constituents have come to appreciate his very special brand of service, dignity and professionalism,” tweeted one user, adding, “Romney said it best,” referring to a confrontation between the Utah Republican and Santos in the run-up to President Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address back in February.
I see the real @Santos4Congress has shown up in all of his priggish glory.
I am sure the constituents have come to appreciate his very special brand of service, dignity and professionalism.
Romney said it best. pic.twitter.com/JsNuFmL6k2
— Natasha Fiona Lawson (@assiduousnation) April 15, 2023
Other users claimed that Santos restricted who could reply to him, with one user tweeting, “I see George restricted who could reply to him, I guess the truth is unacceptable to him. Good luck josh, I hope you win.”
I see George restricted who could reply to him, I guess the truth is unacceptable to him. Good luck josh, I hope you win.
— Lynne ☮️ (@Lynne__Andrea) April 15, 2023
There are questions about Lafazan’s own political leanings and where he would stand in relation to other Democrats in the House, and whether he’d seek to block more progressive parts of President Biden’s domestic agenda.
He accepted — and ran on — the ballot line of New York’s far-right Conservative Party in his 2018 and 2020 two re-election campaigns, writes the left-leaning outlet The Intercept.
Still, many Twitter users seemed to be more supportive of him than the embattled Santos.
On Monday, Santos announced his intention to seek re-election in 2024, touting his victory in the midterm elections as proof he remains a viable candidate in a district where Biden outran former President Donald Trump by a 10-point margin in the 2020 election.
“When I ran in 2022, no one said we’d win,” Santos said in a statement. “‘That’s a safe Biden seat,’ they said. Well, guess what? That D+2, Biden +10 seat I won by 8.5 points. Not only won but made history as the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress.
“Since the Left is pushing radical agendas, the economy is struggling, and Washington is incapable of solving anything, we need a fighter who knows the district and can serve the people fearlessly, and independent of local or national party influence,” Santos added. “I’m not shy about doing what it takes to get the job done. I’m proud to announce my candidacy to run for re-election and continue to serve the people of NY-3.”
Of course, the ongoing investigations into Santos may hinder his ability to raise the money necessary to run a viable campaign.
According to The Hill, a campaign finance report filed by Santos with the Federal Election Commission shows he received $5,333 in individual contributions, but spent $8,353 in refunds to individual donors during the first quarter of the year.
That report also indicates Santos’s campaign has just over $25,000 in cash on hand.
A source close to Santos told The New York Post that, despite the controversies that plagued him earlier this year, Santos believes he can raise between $500,000 and $750,000 in the second quarter of 2023.
Josh Eisen, an entrepreneur and one of Santos’s top donors last cycle, declined to say whether he’d back Santos in 2024, but didn’t rule out the possibility that Santos could rebound and begin raking in donations going forward.
“Many of us Americans are willing to accept all sorts of resurrection,” Eisen told The Post. “Perhaps Representative George Santos will be another.”
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