After pushing for tax break, Rep. Tom Suozzi seeking to be New York governor
Rivals include incumbent Hochul, who moved up after Cuomo resignation
New York Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat who helped push the House to raise a cap on a federal tax break important to his state, said Monday he will run for governor next year.
Suozzi joins a growing pool of candidates challenging Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, who moved up from the lieutenant governor’s office after Andrew Cuomo resigned in August. Republican challengers to Hochul include Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Long Islander like Suozzi, and Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“Everything I’ve done in my career has prepared me for this particular job at this particular time,” Suozzi said in an announcnasement video posted on social media.
This will be his second bid for New York governor — he got just 18 percent of the vote in a 2006 Democratic primary against eventual winner Eliot Spitzer. First elected to Congress in 2016, Suozzi represents the 3rd District, which takes in some wealthy parts of Long Island’s North Shore and has been politically competitive in recent elections. Voters in the region — including in Democratic-leaning Nassau County, which Suozzi once led as county executive for eight years — summarily rejected Democrats in November’s statewide and down-ballot elections.
New York’s congressional map will be redrawn before the 2022 midterms, a process under the control of state Democrats. The Empire State lost a seat in reapportionment after last year’s census.
Suozzi, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, has stressed bipartisanship in Congress. He has voted with Democrats 93 percent of the time, compared with a party average of 97 percent, during his five years in office, according to CQ Vote Watch.
“I like to call myself a commonsense Democrat,” Suozzi said in his announcement video. “Politicians are too focused on being politically correct. I’m focused on doing the correct thing for the people of New York. The far right and far left has gone too far. And they’re stopping us from getting things done.”
Recently, he led a group of moderate Democrats from high-tax states whose push to lift a cap on the state and local tax, or SALT, deduction was a key sticking point in House attempts to pass Democrats’ sweeping social spending, climate and tax bill.
Suozzi referenced the battle over the SALT caps in his announcement video, which also hit on his plans to “put more cops on the beat” to fight rising rates of violent crime — countering Republican attacks on Democrats’ efforts to “defund the police” — and his work as a public official to “help undocumented workers.”
Although he has often been at odds with progressives in his party, he has joined their calls for energy independence and clean energy development, issues he sees as key to helping his shoreline district respond to climate change.
Suozzi was first elected Nassau County executive in 2001 but lost a bid for a third term in 2009 and then a comeback attempt in 2013.
Although Suozzi’s announcement was widely interpreted as a retirement, he could still change his mind, as could Zeldin. The last day to submit a petition to run for the House is April 7, which is after the major parties’ nominating conventions.
So far, 18 Democrats and 11 Republicans have announced they are leaving the House after this cycle — either to retire or to seek another office.