Representative George Santos, the Republican from New York whose unexpected victory in November was quickly marred by revelations that he had lied or exaggerated about virtually his entire biography on the campaign trail, announced Monday that he was running for re-election.
In a statement announcing his campaign, Mr. Santos did not address the controversy that has surrounded him. Instead, he depicted himself as a “fighter” and political outsider who would work outside traditional Republican Party politics.
“We need a fighter who knows the district and can serve the people fearlessly, and independent of local or national party influence,” Mr. Santos said. “Good isn’t good enough, and I’m not shy about doing what it takes to get the job done.”
The announcement follows months of speculation over Mr. Santos’s political future, with fellow Republican lawmakers calling for his resignation, and federal and state prosecutors and his colleagues in Congress investigating his falsehoods on the campaign trail and his finances.
Last month, Mr. Santos filed paperwork indicating his intent to run for re-election, but his announcement on Monday, which was first reported in The New York Post, was his first public declaration of his 2024 campaign.
Though he has admitted to fabricating some parts of his résumé and biography, Mr. Santos has stood by other apparent falsehoods and insisted that the inquiries into him would find no criminal wrongdoing. Still, for months, the first-term Republican remained publicly ambivalent about whether he would run again, calling questions about a re-election bid premature.
Shortly before posting his intention to run for re-election to Twitter, Mr. Santos declined to confirm the announcement, telling a New York Times reporter, “I’m not confirming anything for you.”
Mr. Santos enters the race with significant challenges. Polling has shown that he is unpopular in his district, with 78 percent of constituents believing that he ought to resign, according to a January Siena poll.
He will also face a cash crunch: As of the end of last month, his campaign had just over $25,000 on hand, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
While other first-term Republicans in New York battleground districts raised hundreds of thousands in the first three months of the year, Mr. Santos raised only $5,333.26. During that same period he refunded nearly $8,400, bringing his fund-raising total into the negative.
That is less than Mr. Santos raised during his first run for office in 2020, when he was virtually unknown and reported receiving about $7,000 in the same three-month period.
Mr. Santos was already expected to face a competitive race even before he was mired in scandal and his path forward was clouded by investigations.
Democrats, eager to reverse losses in reliably liberal New York that cost them their hold on Congress, were eyeing Mr. Santos’s suburban district, which covers northern Nassau County on Long Island and a small section of northeast Queens.
But Mr. Santos’s seat became even more of a priority for Democrats after The New York Times and other news outlets published revelations that he had omitted key details from his financial disclosures and misled voters about his education, his professional background, his heritage and his ties to tragedies like the Pulse nightclub shooting and the Sept. 11 attacks.
Subsequent reporting uncovered a number of irregularities in his campaign filings, including an unusual pattern of payments for $199.99, an unregistered fund that purported to be raising huge amounts for Mr. Santos and thousands of dollars in unexplained expenses.
The F.B.I., federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and the Nassau County district attorney’s office are now all investigating Mr. Santos’s campaign finances and how Mr. Santos operated his business, the Devolder Organization, about which he has disclosed little information.
The House Ethics Committee, which is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, is conducting an inquiry into whether Mr. Santos failed to properly fill out his financial disclosure forms, violated federal conflict of interest laws or engaged in other unlawful activity during his most recent campaign.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who holds a slim majority in the House, has pinned Mr. Santos’s fate in Congress on the outcome of that investigation. Even as at least 10 Republican representatives, many of them from New York, pressured Mr. Santos to resign, Mr. McCarthy has said he would not push for action unless the Ethics Committee, which is often criticized for its slow-paced investigations, found reason to do so.
Yet Mr. McCarthy, who supported Mr. Santos’s campaign in 2022, has already expressed reservations about a re-election bid, telling reporters in Washington earlier this year that he would “probably have a little difficulty” supporting one.
He and other House Republicans have also moved to minimize Mr. Santos’s role in Congress, which may curtail the list of achievements that Mr. Santos can pitch to voters.
Mr. Santos temporarily removed himself from two congressional committees at the direction of House leadership, and many rank-and-file Republicans have said they would not work with him on legislation.
“From a political point of view, I don’t think there’s any future for him,” Edward F. Cox, the state Republican Party chairman in New York, said in an interview. He added that his organization would “clearly not” be helping Mr. Santos’s campaign.
He also has little support from Republican officials closer to home. Just days after Mr. Santos was sworn in, a score of Republican officials in Nassau County called on him to resign and said they would work to circumvent his office whenever possible.
The Nassau County Republican Committee, a powerful local party organization, has said that it would not endorse him in 2024..
Mr. Santos already faces a primary challenger, Kellen Curry, whose campaign biography says he served in the Air Force for eight years before working for J.P. Morgan.
The seat is also being looked at by a raft of Democrats, including Mr. Santos’s 2022 opponent, Robert Zimmerman, and Josh Lafazan, a centrist Nassau County legislator who has entered the race.
Party leaders have also gauged the interest of a comeback attempt by Thomas R. Suozzi, the district’s former representative who retired last year.
Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.