‘He bamboozled me like everyone else’: Potential congressional candidate decided not run to clear path for Santos

Dr. Harvey Manes and George Santos (photos by Dr. Harvey Manes and AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Dr. Harvey Manes of Plainview intended to launch his campaign to be the Republican nominee for congressman of New York’s third congressional district in early 2022. However, after speaking to multiple local GOP organizations and then-Republican candidate George Santos, Manes decided not to run, as he believed Santos would make for the best candidate to win the seat and accomplish the goals set out for the district.

Now, after Santos has confirmed many of the lies The New York Times accused him of telling throughout his campaign about his past and experience, Manes does not want to see him represent the third congressional district over the next two years.

While Santos was expected to take office Tuesday despite calls from colleagues and constituents to resign, it is possible that enough Republican members of the House would be willing to side with the Democrats in a vote to expel him and hold a runoff election to decide upon a new Congress member.

Photo by Dr. Harvey Manes

According to Manes, while he is optimistic that the Republicans will do the right thing and expel Santos, he does not intend to run for the position if a runoff election is held. He feels it would be a waste of time and money at this point due to the reputational hit that the Republican party has taken in the area as a result of the Santos controversy.

“I wouldn’t run unless there’s a strong desire for me to do so among those in the district,” Manes told QNS. “It will be tough for the GOP to win back trust in the area. A lot of politicians are voted in and then people find out about their lies. But these were egregious lies meant to manipulate voters.”

Prior to backing out of the race for the Republican nomination, Manes was told about Santos’ supposed reputation by several GOP organizations that donated to his campaign. Eventually, Manes arranged to have lunch with Santos. It was during that lunch that Manes came away very impressed with Santos due to his background, experience and goals.

Like most people, Manes was taken aback when The New York Times first reported the lies Santos had told, including about his religion, education, work history, charitable contributions, wealth and much more. With Santos’ reputation tarnished, Manes believes having him represent the district is not any different than being without a Congress member.

“He bamboozled me like everyone else,” Dr. Manes told QNS. “People make mistakes, but he went too far. It’s not just a couple lies. There were many of them, including some big lies.”

In addition to being reluctant to run as the Republican nominee for the seat if Santos is expelled, Dr. Manes said it’s possible he won’t run during the next election for that seat in 2024. He feels that all the lies by Santos have sowed distrust in the Republican party among those residing within the Congressional district. Despite the normally Democratic district already flipping red once, he doesn’t believe it will be likely to happen again for a while due to the damage that Santos has done.

In the wake of this controversy, Congressman Ritchie Torres, who represents the northwestern Bronx, announced the introduction of a bill that would require candidates running for office to disclose their biography under oath.

Known as the Stopping Another Non-Truthful Office Seeker Act (SANTOS Act), the proposed bill would stipulate that those filing to run for Congress must disclose their educational background, employment history and any record of military service under oath, along with their statement of candidacy. This would allow for those who are caught lying about this, like Santos, to face perjury charges.

Congressman Ritchie Torres (Photo courtesy of Torres’ office)

The proposed bill will have to be reintroduced after the new Congress takes over Tuesday.

While the status of its likelihood to be passed remains up in the air, Dr. Manes voiced his support for it. He believes it is important for the public to know for a fact that a candidate is who they claim to be, as that could influence how they vote.