George Santos has ‘put a stain’ on us, says retired New York City cop taking on scandalized GOP congressman

FIRST ON FOX: A retired New York City Police Department detective turned private security executive and Republican business leader who’s taking on embattled GOP freshman Rep. George Santos says if he were in Congress right now, “I would be voting to expel him.” Mike Sapraicone, in his first national interview since announcing his campaign for New York’s 3rd Congressional District, told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that Santos has “put a stain on just the district, the state, and the country.” “I think the world looks at us as a laughingstock the way we’ve handled this and what’s going on with him,” Sapraicone argued.  Pointing to his district – which includes a sliver of the northeast portion of the New York City borough of Queens, the northern half of Nassau County, and the northwestern portion of neighboring Suffolk County on New York’s Long Island – Sapraicone said “we haven’t had any representation since he was elected in November of ’22.” WHAT FEDERAL PROSECUTORS ACCUSE GEORGE SANTOS OF DOING He said that constituents “can’t go to his [Santos’] office. He’s never there. There are protesters in front of his office. How do we get the basic simple things done that we need as a district? There’s no one to talk to.” Santos, who was elected to the House of Representatives last November and who’s known for fabricating key parts of his resume and life story, is awaiting trial in a federal fraud and money laundering case. He pleaded not guilty last month to charges he duped donors, stole from his campaign, collected fraudulent unemployment benefits and lied to Congress about being a millionaire. Prosecutors have charged Santos with 13 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.  HOUSE ETHICS ISSUES 30 SUBPOENAS IN GEORGE SANTOS INVESTIGATION Santos has condemned the federal investigation as a “witch hunt,” vowing not only to remain in Congress but to seek re-election. House Republicans leaders have urged Santos not to run again in 2024, but have deferred efforts to expel him, as that could narrow their already fragile and razor-thin majority. If Santos is eventually expelled from Congress, setting up a special election in the district, the chairs of the two major parties would choose their candidates. “I’m hoping to be their [the GOP’s] candidate if we get to that situation,” Sapraicone told Fox News. Pointing to Congress, the first-time candidate claimed that “most of our politicians are partisan guys who really worry about their own agenda and their party’s own agenda and that base, and they’re really not listening to their constituents – to people like me. People who vote for them. They’re kind of ignoring them and just beating to their own drum.” “In my experience as an ex-police officer and detective and business owner, it’s important to listen to people, to make them feel valued in what they have to say and try to move their agendas forward, because they’re the people who are electing you,” he emphasized. Sapraicone said “the important things right now are public safety and the economy,” when asked which issues he’d spotlight as he runs for Congress. “Crime is rampant in New York City… we need to come up with serious way to stop the crime that’s going on. To make people safe to go to the city… we don’t have that right now.” The 67-year-old Queens native whose wife, Eileen Daly-Sapraicone, is a state Supreme Court judge in Nassau County, said he expects to talk very soon with the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is the House GOP’s campaign arm. And he said he hopes to get time with House Republican leaders “once we start getting a little momentum.” Sapraicone won a crucial early endorsement from former Sen. Al D’Amato, a longtime power broker among Republicans on Long Island. New York City Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo also is supporting Sapraicone. Democrats are eyeing the district as they aim to win back the House majority in the 2024 elections, and the race is expected to become expensive. “I’ve always been the person giving money. I’ve never been the person asking for money. So I find this as one of the more difficult parts of this task to run for Congress,” Sapraicone said when asked about fundraising. “It’s going to be a tough task but I look forward to the opportunity to get my message out. To explaining to people what I see as a vision and what I think I can do to make this a better district, a better state, a better country. I’m looking forward to that challenge.” CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP But he acknowledged “I think it’s going to take a lot of money… I would guess it’s somewhere between $2-4 million.” To date, only one other Republican candidate has jumped into the race – Kellen Curry, an Afghanistan war veteran and former vice president at the financial services firm JP Morgan. Three Democrats have so far declared their candidacies. Material from The Associated Press was used in this report
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