The Democrat who lost to George Santos (R-NY) in November’s midterm elections has talked in detail about how his campaign found dirt on the far-right Republican before his win—but didn’t have the time or money to dig deeper.
Speaking to host Andy Levy on this week’s episode of The New Abnormal politics podcast, Robert Zimmerman said that by the time he was named the Democratic nominee on Aug. 23, he had 10 and a half weeks until the election.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which did the opposition research on Santos, produced an 87-page document “with a number of issues we were able to use in the election,” Zimmerman said.
In this document were a number of “red flags,” Zimmerman explains. “For example, Santos, despite lying about it, was very involved with the insurrection movement. He was at the speech January 6th. He tried to lie about his abortion position when in fact he was for a national ban on abortion… and said women would use rape as an excuse to get an abortion.”
There’s more. His position on social security. A charity that he had that wasn’t properly registered. Issues about past evictions, personal issues in his life. The list goes on.
“We knew, frankly, Andy, nothing about this guy added up,” Zimmerman said. “Our problem was with 10 and a half weeks to go before election day, and starting to raise money to build the campaign, we were not in a position to send a team to Brazil to check out his past or to see if there’s something about his past. We weren’t in a position to hire a genealogist to figure out whether he was Jewish or not.
“Believe me, no one, no one, Andy, is more frustrated than I am. Did we do everything we could to try to sound the alarm and get the story out? Absolutely. And it was incredibly sad and frustrating.”
Zimmerman alleges that somebody “bought George Santos. And the question is finding out who. I did everything I could to beat him in the election. I sounded the alarm as loud as I could, as best we could. But now the challenge right now is to make sure he is out of office.”
Then, Frederick Ingram, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union, discusses Florida’s ban on an AP African-American Studies class.
“Mr. DeSantis is running for president on the backs of the divisive politics that we’ve seen throughout the nation… he wants to try and attract a certain type of voter to his side of the political aisle. He’s willing to use this divisive type of politics and put Black children, Black teachers, Black communities, Hispanic teachers, trans and gay folks, right in the middle of a cauldron that is really, really getting hot. And he’s playing with fire.
Ingram also confirmed a brewing movement to explore legal recourse over the decision.
“Everybody needs to understand the value of everybody else’s culture,” he said. “This is America. This is what we do.”