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Democratic Long Island Rep. Suozzi, considering run for governor, says moderates are the party's future

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y.
John Minchillo
Associated Press
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y.

Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi said he is “seriously considering” running for governor of New York in the 2022 elections. The moderate democrat also criticized the left of his party for promoting what he said is a losing message.

Suozzi would enter a crowded field that includes current Governor Kathy Hochul and state Attorney General Letitia James. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams are also considering a run. All except Hochul are closer to the left of their party than the center.

Suozzi is a moderate democrat from Nassau County, where the Republicans took the county executive and district attorney’s seats on Tuesday. Suozzi, who backed moderate Buffalo democrat Byron Brown in his winning mayoral write in campaign against democratic socialist candidate India Walton, said Democrats need to steer away from left-leaning ideology if the party wants to be successful in 2022.

“We have to be willing to state up to the far left because that message… is destroying the party,” Suozzi said. “It’s bad for America. And it’s not a winning message.”

The Congressman said the state’s GOP effectively “weaponized” key issues like the recent bail reform laws and that helped propel them to victory. He said he thinks the bail reforms need to be scaled back to give more discretion to criminal court judges.

Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive who ran unsuccessfully against former Governor Eliot Spitzer, said he would “love” to be governor, and believes he could win in a general election. But he said he’s going to take until the end of November to think about whether he could be viable in the June Democratic primary, which will include a higher percentage of progressive-leaning voters.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.