Suozzi becomes fourth Democrat to enter New York governor race

Representative Tom Suozzi (DN.Y.) on Capitol Hill on September 9, 2021. | Francis Chung / E&E News

ALBANY, NY – Representative Tom Suozzi entered the race for governor of New York in 2022 on Monday, increasing the size of the declared Democratic primary field to four candidates.

The Long Island resident, who is serving his third term in Congress, has described himself as a “common sense Democrat” who should not be called “moderate.” But it is clear that he will run as a centrist, trying to gain the support of party members who might otherwise support Gov. Kathy Hochul, who took office in August after Andrew Cuomo resigned.

Hochul is already facing major challenges from New York City Public Counsel Jumaane Williams and State Attorney General Tish James, both of whom have started to seek support for Hochul’s left. Outgoing New York mayor Bill de Blasio is also considering a run.

“The far right and the far left have gone too far and they are preventing us from getting things done,” Suozzi said in a campaign launch video.

Voters are “fed up with all this finesse,” he said at a Zoom press conference on Monday morning. “They want common sense elected officials who focus on getting things done for people, not messaging. They want someone who really has the experience… I’ve been doing this for 28 years.

Suozzi used this post when he has made statewide appearances in recent months. He was the most prominent elected official to support Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s successful written campaign this fall, arguing that Democrats should side with problem solvers rather than ideological purists. And when Brown easily beat Socialist India Walton, the Democratic candidate, it gave Suozzi evidence to say that message is resonating with voters.

The entry of the congressman into the high-profile governor race makes it even more difficult to predict an already complicated governorship domain. With two New York City contenders against Hochul – and potentially a third in de Blasio – the incumbent would become the main favorite if she increased her numbers in the city’s suburbs and its upstate base.

But Suozzi could make this path more difficult. The former Glen Cove mayor and two-term Nassau County leader has yet to register much in the polls, but has a message that is clearly designed to connect with moderate Democrats in his corner of New York . And he says he thinks it’s going to spread more widely.

“My message is going to resonate throughout the state,” he said. “I want to cut taxes, I want to fight crime, I want to get the homeless off the streets, I want to keep fighting for the environment, I want to help the children of our failing schools and I have the ‘intention to do these things and the proven track record of getting things done.

This question of lowering taxes was Suozzi’s main platform during his last gubernatorial candidacy. In 2006, he fell to just under 20% of the vote, launching a long-term primary offer against then-attorney general Eliot Spitzer.

Taxes have remained a major focus of Suozzi’s political efforts, with Long Island consistently ranking among the top-taxed places in the country. In recent months, he’s been one of the loudest champions in a federal deal to scrap a federal cap on state and local tax deductions.

Suozzi had $ 3.1 million in the bank in October. The numbers for most of the candidates won’t be available until January, but that gives him a good chance of having a bigger war chest than any candidate other than Hochul.

His entry into the race will also have effects on the ballots as New York lawmakers prepare to enter the home stretch of the redistribution process. Long Island has about four House seats, a number expected to drop to 3.76. This means that at least one of the districts represented by Suozzi or Representative Kathleen Rice will have to expand further into Queens than it does today.

Democrats are well positioned to dominate the mapping process in New York City. And reducing a holder to protect means they might have more flexibility to make an adjustment like this.

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