Representative Tom Suozzi is running for governor of New York

Rep. Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat from Long Island, announced Monday that he would compete in the race for governor of New York, widening t...


Rep. Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat from Long Island, announced Monday that he would compete in the race for governor of New York, widening the field of candidates running against incumbent Kathy Hochul and becoming the first Democrat to directly target his support among moderate suburban voters.

Mr. Suozzi, who has recently focused on federal negotiations on increasing the cap on state and local tax deductions, has positioned himself as a vocal centrist who hastens to whip what he presents as the excesses of the left wing of his party.

His decision to run for governor, which he made official at a virtual press conference, will intensify and complicate the battle for moderate voters in one of the country’s main Democratic primary contests next year.

“I don’t think it’s about going to the far left or the far right,” said Suozzi, who outlined a program that included lower property and income taxes. , vigorous efforts to tackle crime and reduce homelessness, and a focus on tackling the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the economy.

“I’ll work with anyone,” he says. “It’s not about being politically correct. It’s about doing the right thing to actually help people.

Mr. Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive who touts himself as a “common sense Democrat,” could tear apart the coalition Ms. Hochul seeks to assemble on Long Island and in the suburbs of the state.

While Mr. Suozzi is an excellent fundraiser, he will still face significant challenges during a statewide Democratic primary.

While the first polls are of limited value ahead of a primary scheduled for next June, it has been in single digits in a recent poll. Mrs. Hochul, the first female governor of the state, has consistently dominated the field in early polls and has an overwhelming head start in fundraising and support.

Other candidates also have the kind of historic potential that Mr. Suozzi, a white man, does not have, including Attorney General Letitia James, who could be the country’s first black female governor if won. She and Ms. Hochul are widely regarded as the two most formidable candidates at this point in the race.

Congressional Democrats are expected to face a brutally difficult environment in next year’s midterm elections, but Mr. Suozzi insisted that had no bearing on his decision to run.

“I feel like all this left-to-right extremist thing in our country is killing our country and it is killing our state,” he said. “I don’t think I could sit on the sidelines and watch what’s going on, watch what’s going on in our state and not engage in an effort to try to move it forward.”

Mr Suozzi’s gubernatorial candidacy could risk Democrats’ grip on his largely suburban seat in the House at a time when they are battling nationally to retain control of the chamber.

Without a popular incumbent to defend him, Republicans would likely make the seat a prime target in New York City. Democrats could find themselves spending large sums of money defending the seat or being forced to give it greater consideration during the ten-year redistribution process.

Diverting more Democratic voters to the district could in turn complicate the party’s efforts use the redistribution process to grab one or two additional seats in the House on Long Island.

“Tom Suozzi is making the smart decision to leave Congress rather than lose in 2022,” said Camille Gallo, spokesperson for the Republican National Committee of Congress.

On the Democratic side, Melanie D’Arrigo, who describes herself as a health care advocate and community organizer, said she was running; she lost to Mr. Suozzi in a primary Last year.

A number of others are believed to be eyeing the seat, including Robert Zimmerman, a Long Island businessman and member of the Democratic National Committee; Josh Lafazan, the youngest person ever elected to the Nassau County Legislature; and Assembly member Edward Braunstein.

Two Republicans have also opened federal campaign accounts, including George Santos, who appears to be raising funds at a steady rate.

In theory, Suozzi still has time to reconsider his decision before the deadline for state nominations next spring. But election experts say Mr Suozzi couldn’t run for two positions on the same ballot, and National Democrats say they now view the House race as an open seat.

When asked if he could rule out running for Congress under any circumstances next year, Mr. Suozzi replied, “I’m running for governor of New York State.

Mr Suozzi has started discussing with his allies whether to run for governor at least as early as this summer, after Ms James’ office released a damning report detailing accusations of sexual harassment by the governor of the ‘era. Andrew M. Cuomo, according to those involved in the talks.

But he has long been interested in work.

He ran for governor in 2006 and was defeated in the Democratic primaries by Eliot Spitzer, who would later resign as disgraced governor.

In this race, Mr. Suozzi ran on a managerial competence message, a theme he takes up, this time also citing his federal experience. His campaign slogan in other races has been: “Suozzi does it. This time around, there is a slight modification: “a common sense Democrat who gets things done”.

The congressman will enter an increasingly volatile realm shaped by ideology, identity and geography. The growing number of candidates has injected a new measure of uncertainty into a race that will offer a major test of Democratic Party leadership.

Ms James, from Brooklyn, is seeking to assemble a coalition rooted in black and Latino voters of various political leanings and support for white progressives.

But she faces geographic competition and some ideological competition of Jumaane D. Williams, a Brooklyn compatriot who hopes to become the leftist’s standard bearer and would be the state’s second black governor.

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York and another Brooklyn resident, has indicated he is also heading for a candidacy, despite the deep skepticism of many Democratic leaders.

Important questions on the ground remain, including whether and how Mr Cuomo, who resigned in disgrace, can deploy his remaining war chest to enter the race.

After Democrats argued significant losses on Long Island and across the country earlier this month, Mr. Suozzi is clearly betting voters worried about next year’s general election will be more receptive to a relative centrist.

Recent documents show he has over $ 3 million in his federal campaign account that could likely be transferred to a gubernatorial bid to advocate for this cause.

But he faces fierce competition for the moderate mantle – from Ms Hochul and, to some extent, potentially Ms James – even as he runs into a primary in which the vibrant progressive left movement of New York could be powerfully influential.

Jay Jacobs, the chairman of the New York State Democrats and Nassau County Party, chaired Mr. Suozzi’s candidacy in 2006. He endorsed Ms. Hochul and said he recently sent Mr. Suozzi a note with his evaluation of the race.

“I see no way for him to win and his entry into the race can only cost Kathy Hochul a few votes,” he said.

Mr Suozzi, for his part, said he plans to build a broad coalition and is posing as a risk taker.

“I have shown that I am willing to risk anything, sometimes with great success and sometimes with crushing and burning,” he said. “But I’m willing to risk it all when I see something that needs to be done, and I’m willing to take those risks.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Representative Tom Suozzi is running for governor of New York
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