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Long Island Democrat Suozzi considering run for governor

Rep. Thomas Suozzi's official photo
Franmarie Metzler
U.S. House Office of Photography

Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi said Thursday 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 Tish 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 says 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 Gov. Eliot Spitzer, says he would “love” to be governor, and believes he could win in a general election. But he says 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 DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.