Kellen Curry, an Afghanistan war veteran and former vice president at J.P. Morgan, announced a primary challenge against Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) on Monday, becoming the first Republican to take on the embattled congressman who has faced calls to resign.
In a statement on his campaign website, Curry said he is running to “restore honesty and integrity” to the congressional representation in New York’s third congressional district, directly pointing to Santos.
“From day 1 George Santos has completely violated our trust. As a result, our equities are not carried on Capitol Hill, our interest are not advocated for in the Congress and our phone calls continue to go unanswered,” Curry said.
“It’s time for change, it’s time for new leadership and it’s time for a fresh face that we can actually believe in. And that’s why I’m running for Congress,” he added.
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. (Annabelle Gordon)
Santos has not yet said if he plans to run for reelection in 2024.
The congressman did, however, file a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission last month, an indication that he may vie for a second term. It does not, however, guarantee that he will follow through with the bid.
The New York Republican has come under significant scrutiny since winning his election to Congress amid revelations that he embellished parts of his resume and questions about his finances.
A number of entities are said to be looking into Santos, including the House Ethics Committee, which launched an investigation into the congressman early last month. A handful of lawmakers — including Republicans — have called on him to resign.
Santos, however, has remained adamant that he will not step down early.
Reached for comment on Monday, a spokesperson for Santos told The Hill “congressional offices are legally barred from commenting on campaign related matters.”
A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Curry was on active duty for eight years, during which he delivered cybersecurity technology to the military, according to his campaign website.
He served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and currently serves in the Air Force Reserves.
Curry most recently worked in J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Banking Division in New York City. He received a master of business administration from The George Washington University.
His campaign cited both his military experience and background in finance.
“Kellen believes his extensive experience working in national security and in our national economy will serve him well in his bid for Congress,” a statement on Curry’s campaign website reads.
Curry’s website says his campaign “will be focusing on core issues including national defense in the face of raising global threats, economic insecurity due to persistently high inflation, increasing affordability on Long Island and raising the accountability bar in D.C. through ethics reforms.”
“He will also be working to achieve what he calls ‘the gold standard of constituency services’ which has been absent but is critical to improving the lives of NY-3 residents,” the website adds.
Updated on April 4 at 2:52 p.m.