Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D) will run for governor of New York next year, positioning himself as a moderate in a growing field of progressives hoping to lead the Empire State.
Suozzi, 59, announced his campaign Monday morning in a virtual press conference.
“I’m a common sense Democrat. I don’t believe it’s about going to the far left or the far right, it’s about trying to find the answers to the problems we face,” Suozzi told reporters in a Zoom call. “When it comes to my experience and my ideology, there are clear differences with the other folks.”
He called for property and income tax cuts, urged new funding for more police officers and housing for the mentally ill and the homeless, and said New York needed to cut regulations to become more attractive to residents and business.
This is Suozzi's second try at the governorship. In 2006, Suozzi lost a primary bid to then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D) by a wide margin. Spitzer resigned two years later in a prostitution scandal.
“I ran for governor once before. Didn’t work out very well for me. Didn’t work out for Eliot Spitzer, either,” Suozzi joked to The Hill in an interview last month.
Suozzi is the third prominent Democrat to say he would challenge Gov. Kathy HochulKathy HochulThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden champions filibuster reform, but doesn't have the votes States carve out billions in budgets for electric vehicle surge Overnight Health Care — Presented by AstraZeneca and Friends of Cancer Research — Biden vaccine rules on shaky SCOTUS ground MORE (D), who ascended to the governorship when Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoAndrew Cuomo attorney says AG investigation was 'shoddy,' outcome was 'predetermined' Judge dismisses groping case against Cuomo Andrew Cuomo to appear in court virtually on Friday MORE resigned in the face of numerous allegations of sexual harassment. Attorney General Letitia James (D) and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D) have also joined the race.
And the field could get more crowded: Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioWatershed moment in NYC: New law allows noncitizens to vote Hochul calls for permanent legal to-go cocktails in NY Andy Cohen blasts de Blasio during Times Square NYE MORE (D) and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D) are said to be considering bids of their own.
Many of those candidates will run as progressives. But Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive, has staked out more centrist turf. He publicly backed Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) for reelection after Brown lost the Democratic primary to a more progressive challenger; Brown later won a write-in campaign to secure another term in office.
Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinMembers of Congress not running for reelection in 2022 Rudy Giuliani becomes grandfather after son welcomes child Rep. Suozzi to run for New York governor MORE is seen as the leading candidate for the Republican nomination. Former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino, the 2014 Republican nominee, and former Trump administration official Andrew Giuliani are also running.
Suozzi’s decision to run opens what is likely to be a competitive battle for his seat in Congress. His district covers parts of Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties on Long Island, a district that backed President BidenJoe BidenCarville advises Democrats to 'quit being a whiny party' Wendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Sullivan: 'It's too soon to tell' if Texas synagogue hostage situation part of broader extremist threat MORE by a 10-point margin in 2020.
But Democrats suffered surprising losses in local elections on Long Island this year, and Republicans have hopes of reclaiming the district. George Santos, who lost to Suozzi by 12 points last year, has already said he will run again.
Suozzi is the 18th House Democrat to say he will not seek reelection in 2022, and the eighth who will run instead for another office. Eleven House Republicans have said they will not seek another term next year, seven of whom are running for other offices.
Updated: 11:13 a.m.