New York Democrats have selected former Rep. Tom Suozzi as their party’s candidate in the upcoming special election to replace former Republican Rep. George Santos.
Leaders from Nassau and Queens counties met Thursday and voted for Suozzi, who was expected to emerge as the party’s nominee. He previously represented the competitive 3rd District, which is based on Long Island, before leaving Congress last year to pursue an unsuccessful run for governor.
“Tom Suozzi has a proven track record of fighting for his constituents, fighting to safeguard our suburban way of life here on Long Island and Queens, and always advocating for common-sense solutions to the real challenges that affect average Americans every day,” said the Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs. and Rep. Gregory Meeks, Queens County Democratic Chair, in a joint statement.
It is still unclear which Republican will face Suozzi during the Feb. 13 special election to replace Santos, who was expelled from the House following a scathing Ethics Committee report that found Santos appeared to violate multiple federal laws in his campaign. of 2022.
The special election is expected to be very close: Santos was one of 18 Republicans representing a district that President Joe Biden won in 2020.
Republicans are expected to select their candidate early next week, according to Nassau County Republican spokesman Michael Deery. County GOP chairs will select a candidate, and party leaders have been interviewing more than 20 potential candidates this week.
Deery also confirmed that the party is working with a company to conduct research on potential candidates to avoid a similar situation the Republican Party faced with Santos. After Santos was elected in 2022, news reports revealed that Santos had fabricated much of his background.
Other possible Republican candidates include retired NYPD Detective Mike Sapraicone and Nassau County legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip, both of whom have faced increased media scrutiny in recent days. Earlier this week, Politico reported that Pilip is actually a registered Democrat.
Politico also reported that Sapraicone was accused in a lawsuit of ignoring evidence and obtaining a false confession as a detective. Sapraicone’s spokesperson told Politico that the former detective was not aware of the lawsuit and that he “only worked in a supporting role during this case.”
Whoever Republicans choose will face a competitive race against Suozzi, who represented the 3rd District for three terms before leaving Congress to challenge Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in a bitter primary.
Jacobs said he has been consulting with Hochul as the party considers choosing a candidate. On Monday, Hochul summoned Suozzi to Albany and pressured him on his way to victory, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
Suozzi specifically pledged to support abortion rights and to run a campaign that would not harm the Democratic Party’s brand. Suozzi also apologized to Hochul for his negative primary campaign, according to the source. Hochul then approved his candidacy for Congress.
“We had a good meeting and cleared things up, and I appreciate you taking the time,” Suozzi said in a statement about his meeting with Hochul. “At a time of strong political division, I offered to be another moderate voice as the Governor works to solve problems and make progress.”
The New York Times was the first to report details of the meeting.