It’s official: former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) is the Democratic Party’s choice to run in the Feb. 13 special election to replace George Santos, who was expelled from Congress last week, in New York’s third congressional district.
“On behalf of the Nassau County and Queens County Democratic Committees, we are very pleased to announce the official selection this afternoon of Thomas R. Suozzi of Glen Cove to be our nominee for the Special Election in the Third Congressional District of New York,” Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs said in a news release. “Tom Suozzi has a proven record of fighting for his constituents, fighting to safeguard our suburban way of life here on Long Island and Queens and always advocating for sensible solutions to the real challenges affecting every day average Americans.”
Suozzi held the seat from 2017 to 2023, and had declined to run in 2022, instead making an unsuccessful bid to challenge Gov. Kathy Hochul in the Democratic primary — something that apparently required mending fences to get the governor’s approval for the special election. George Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman for the vacant seat in 2022. The New York Times exposed much of his claimed background as fiction the next December.
“The folks from Massapequa and Levittown to the north shore of Nassau, to northeast Queens deserve better,” Suozzi said in a statement. “I will work day and night with both parties to deliver for the people to make living here more affordable, safer, and better. I delivered for this district before, and I will do it again by putting you ahead of partisanship. Let’s reject the nonsense and get back to work. Let’s fix this!”
Suozzi defeated the then-relatively unknown Santos in the 2020 race for the seat. He ran to the right of Hochul in his 2022 gubernatorial bid, hitting at the governor for New York’s bail reform and Covid relief spending.
Despite this, Suozzi has no shortage of Republicans claiming he’s too far to the left.
“Tom Suozzi’s attempted comeback tour will be playing all the hits: self-enrichment, defunding the police, and raising taxes (just to name a few),” Savannah Viar, spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said. “Voters will reject Suozzi just like they did in his failed bid for governor last year.”
Prior to serving as a House representative, Suozzi was Nassau County Executive from 2002 to 2009. He was mayor of Glen Cove from 1994 to 2001.
Republicans are expected to announce their candidate for the seat next week. There is speculation it could be Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (R-Great Neck) or ex-NYPD officer Michael Sapraicone.
Since this is a special election occurring due to a vacancy, the seat will still be up for election in 2024, and both parties will have primaries.