Before Being Elected, George Santos Pushed His Own ‘Stolen Election’ Hoax

Amid continuing criticism and demands — even from local party members — that he leave office, a video circulating online shows right-wing Rep. George Santos (R-New York) appearing at a January 5 2021 rally and falsely claiming that an election was “stolen” from him.

“If you’re from New York City, you know what they did to me — they did to me what they did to Donald J. Trump. They stole my election,” Santos says in the footage.

Fact Check

Claim: George Santos falsely claimed his election was stolen

Description: A video emerged showing George Santos, a Republican representative from New York, making false claims at a rally on January 5, 2021, that his election was ‘stolen’. Santos claimed that his 2020 run for office in the 3rd Congressional district of New York was undermined by illicit printing and shipping of ballots, but this has been proven to be untrue.

Rating: False

Rating Explanation: George Santos claimed his election was stolen, but evidence shows that after all ballots were counted, Santos’ opponent, Tom Suozzi won the race. Hence, Santos was never an elected Congressman at any point in 2020.

“For fourteen days, I was Congressman-elect of the 3rd Congressional district of New York. And what did they do? When they were too busy printing 280,000 ballots in my district and shipping them to Pennsylvania, they sneaked [sic] in a few for my opponent. And what did they do? They stole it.”

Santos’ remarks (much like most of his public biography) were a distortion of the truth about how his 2020 run for office unfolded; at the time, Santos was running to unseat incumbent Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi. The Long Island Herald reported on November 4 2020 that Santos led Suozzi by 2 percentage points, but further noted:

Thousands of absentee ballots remained uncounted because they could not be opened until seven days after the election.

As of Wednesday, there were 48,097 absentee ballots in Nassau County and 23,846 in Suffolk County outstanding. Northeast Queens, which U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi represents, had 13,947 absentee ballots. The registration of the ballots was 51 percent Democratic, 17 percent Republican and 32 percent blank.

However, after those ballots were counted, Suozzi won the race. As the Queens Daily Eagle reported on November 17 2020:

Suozzi led by more than 10,000 votes Tuesday after initially trailing by about 4,000 in-person ballots on Election Day. He had 51 percent of the vote when Santos conceded.

He performed far better in Queens on Election Day than he did in the Nassau County portion of the district, according to Board of Elections results. He received 3,300 more votes than Santos in Queens County — picking up 20,131 votes in Queens compared to Santos’ 16,828 on Election Day.

So, Santos was never the district’s “Congressman-elect” at any point in 2020.

We can also confirm that this footage was taken from a rally held one day before Trump supporters launched a coup attempt against the U.S. Capitol that caused the deaths of at least seven people. (He takes the stage at around an hour and 40 minutes into the video.)

Santos was introduced at the rally by Dustin Stockton, who hyped up the crowd by reminding them that Trump was “who we’re taking our marching orders from.” Later in 2021, Stockton and his wife gave investigators information about the separate rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol.

As the Washington Post reported from the rally where Santos spoke:

For nearly eight hours, speakers repeated election conspiracy theories, closed their eyes to pray and shared discount codes for MyPillow, a company owned by a Trump ally.


All day, the crowd ranted against the need for masks, vaccines and precautions against the [COVID-19] virus that has killed more than 355,000 Americans.

“I’m going to give everyone three action steps … turn to the person next to you and give them a hug,” one speaker exhorted the crowd. “Someone you don’t know … it’s a mass-spreader event! It’s a mass-spreader event!”

After actually being elected to office in November 2022, Santos’ propensity for making up details about his life — from his college education to his supposed professional bonafieds — has come under heavy questioning, as lie after lie he has told has been debunked; as one article summarized:

As he has claimed, Santos is a 34-year-old Republican born in Queens who will represent New York’s wealthiest congressional district. Other than that, pretty much everything is under scrutiny.

Santos has apparently lied so much that both the Nassau County and New York state GOP Republican Party have called on him to resign from office; as of January 11 2023 he has said he will not do so.

We contacted Santos’ office seeking comment, but did not hear back.

On March 2 2023, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate whether Santos “engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.”

Santos was indicted on May 10 2023 by the U.S. Justice Department on charges of theft of public funds, wire fraud, money laundering, and “making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.”

The New York Times reported that Santos pleaded not guilty and was released on “$500,000 bond that will be secured by three individuals, whose identities are not public.”

On June 6 2023, federal Magistrate Judge Anne Shields agreed to a request from several news organizations for the names of the people who secured Santos’ bond to be revealed to the public. Santos’ attorney appealed that decision, saying that the people involved are family members and not lobbyists or donors.

“To the extent that it may be possible to unredact a portion of the sealed judicial bond records or proceedings to reveal the existence of a ‘family’ relationship between Defendant and suretors without identifying the name or type of family member, [Santos] would have no objection,” the filing said.

Regardless, court documents showed that Gercino Santos and Elma Santos Preven — the lawmaker’s father and aunt, respectively — were listed as suretors for the bond. ABC News reported that as recently as 2021, the elder Santos worked as a mail handler for the United States Postal Service, while Santos Preven contributed “just over $4,000” toward her nephew’s campaign.

Santos’ legal and political troubles deepened on October 10 2023, when he was indicted again on separate charges including “aggravated identity theft, credit card fraud, conspiracy and wire fraud” for allegedly using 10 donors’ credit card information to illegally rack up thousands of dollars in phony contributions to his campaign, false information that was then submitted to the Federal Election Commission. Santos’ indictment was announced days after former campaign manager Nancy Mark pled guilty to similar charges.

Other House Republicans from New York state responded by banding together in their own attempt to oust Santos from the legislative body; Rep. Anthony D’Esposito announced on October 11 2023 that he would introduce a resolution calling for Santos’ expulsion; NBC News reported that D’Esposito’s resolution would be co-sponsored by fellow GOP Reps. Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Nick Langworthy and Brandon Williams.

“If they want to be judge, jury and arbitrator of the whole goddamn thing, let them do it,” Santos said in response. “They just want to silence the people of the 3rd Congressional District.”

The watchdog group Citizens for Ethical Responsibility in Washington (CREW) further reported that Santos is the only sitting member of Congress who has yet to file mandatory personal financial disclosure forms. While Santos claimed in May 2023 that he would rather “be late, accurate, and pay the fine,” CREW reported that Santos had not requested an extension on the deadline.

The group said that besides failing to clarify Santos’ personal finances, his failure to file the necessary disclosure forms “demonstrates a lack of respect for rules that exist to provide the public with information that can be used to identify serious conflicts of interest.”

Update March 2 2023, 12:18 p.m. PST: Updated to reflect an upcoming House Ethics Committee investigation into Santos’ reported activities. — ag
Update May 10 2023, 12:06 p.m. PST: Updated to reflect federal indictment against Santos. — ag
Update June 9 2023, 11:12 a.m. PST: Updated with more information on Santos’ efforts to prevent the revelation of the identities of the people who paid for his $500,000 bond. — ag
Update June 22 2023, 10:23 a.m. PST: Updated to reflect the identification of George Santos’ father and aunt, Gercino Santos and Elma Santos Preven, as the suretors for his $500,000 bond. — ag
Update October 12 2023, 2:09 a.m. PST: Updated to reflect a separate federal indictment against Santos as well as a purported plan by fellow GOP Congressmembers from New York to file a resolution to expel him from the House. — ag