On Tuesday, former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, who represented the 3rd District, announced he will file to run for Congress in the hope of replacing embattled Republican George Santos.
Official speculation that Suozzi would run to recapture his seat goes as far back as April during a CNBC newscast. But among his supporters, including those from his hometown of Glen Cove, the hope that he would return more than likely began when Suozzi lost his gubernatorial bid on June 27, 2022 to Democrat Kathy Hochul.
There is no guarantee that Suozzi will be the Democratic candidate. He will have to win a crowded primary, which has eight Democrats who have declared their candidacy. And he would have to be chosen by Jay Jacobs, the New York Democratic Committee chair, and Rep. Gregory Meeks of Queens. Suozzi would also need to be approved by Hochul, who he has not had a positive relationship with since his loss to her in the primary.
On Instagram Suozzi explained his reasons for running, saying, “The madness in Washington, D.C. and the absurdity of George Santos remaining in the United States Congress is obvious to everyone. You know me, I’ve never sat on the sidelines. From the cost-of-living to immigration, crime, climate change, combating terrorism in the Middle East and globally, and simply helping people, we need more commonsense and compassion and less chaos and senseless fighting.”
Santos remains under investigation by the House Ethics Committee who are looking into violations of campaign finance laws, financial disclosure and sexual misconduct. If found guilty, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Santos would be removed from office although it is not clear if that will happen now, since McCarthy was ousted from his post.
There are other ongoing investigations of Santos as well, including those being conducted by Nassau and Queens district attorneys and the New York State attorney general.
When Santos announced he would run for reelection on April 17, he did not address the charges against him.
“We need a fighter who knows the district and can serve the people fearlessly, and independent of local or national party influence,” Santos said. “Good isn’t good enough, and I’m not shy about doing what it takes to get the job done.”
Santos has penned bills while serving as a congressman, but none have been co-sponsored by his colleagues in the House or have moved beyond the initial stage of being presented.
Suozzi comes with much government experience. He was Glen Cove’s mayor from 1994 to 2001 and was Nassau County executive from 2002 to 2009. Suozzi was elected to Congress in 2017 leaving to run for governor against Hochul.
When Suozzi was elected to Congress, he joined the Problem Solvers Caucus — 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans who meet weekly to try and find common ground — and served as the co-vice chair. The group, committed to bipartisan lawmaking to end the gridlock in Washington, remained important to Suozzi throughout his time in the House. He stayed with them until he left Congress.
“I just always made it a point to get to know people, to understand where they were coming from,” he told the Herald in February. “And even people I disagree with, I still tried to let them know that I’d work with them in good faith if they were working to solve a problem.”
Eight Democratic candidates have announced they will run in the primary including: Steve Behar, Austin Cheng, Anna Kaplan, Joshua Lafazan, Scott Livingston, Zak Malamed, William Murphy and Darius Radzius. The date for New York’s primary has not been determined yet.