Months after endorsing Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan to succeed him in Congress, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) formally endorsed Robert Zimmerman ahead of the state’s 3rd Congressional District election in November.
Suozzi, who lauded Lafazan for being a “common-sense Democrat” prior to the district’s Democratic primary election that took place in August, said Zimmerman is “the clear choice” in the general election later this fall.
“Robert has committed to fight to end gun violence in our nation, protect the shorelines of Queens and Nassau Counties, and will be dedicated to fully restoring the SALT (State and Local Tax) deduction,” Suozzi continued. “Robert Zimmerman will work to deliver results for the people of the 3rd Congressional District.”
Zimmerman, in a tweet, said he was proud to have Suozzi’s endorsement, expressing his desire to work closely with the outgoing congressman on various issues, if he is elected.
Suozzi is coming off a failed run in the gubernatorial primary, losing to Gov. Kathy Hochul in late June, and will not be running to retain his seat in Congress.
New district maps were submitted recently by a court-appointed special master and have been viewed as more neutral compared to ones that were rejected by the state Appeals Court several weeks ago.
Zimmerman received 9,482, or 36%, of the votes in the 3rd Congressional District primary in August. Former North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman finished second with 6,884 votes for 26%. Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (D-Woodbury) was in third place with 5,296 votes, Port Washington’s Melanie D’Arrigo received 4,197 votes and Oyster Bay’s Reema Rasool received 661 votes.
While the 3rd Congressional District under the new proposal does not extend as far west as the Bronx or Westchester, it does stretch to more southern parts of Nassau County such as Hicksville and Massapequa. The new lines do exclude the parts of the district that now stretch into Suffolk County, mainly Huntington and Smithtown.
If elected, Zimmerman would become the first openly gay member of Congress from Long Island and Queens as would his Republican challenger, George Santos.
Zimmerman, 67, is co-president of ZE Creative Communications on Bond Street in Great Neck, a public relations firm he started 33 years ago with Ron Edelson and a Democratic national committeeman.
Zimmerman previously worked as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill for Congressmen Lester Wolff, James Scheuer and Gary Ackerman. His advocacy also led to his being nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve on the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Presidential Commission on the Arts and by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Council on the Humanities.
The businessman referred to numerous pieces of legislation in state governments aimed at compromising voting, abortion and the LGBTQ+ community’s rights, among other things, as threats to the country’s fabric.
Notable endorsements for Zimmerman include Gov. Kathy Hochul, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, state Assemblyman Charles Lavine, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
Santos, 34, who ran against Suozzi in 2020, was named a “Young Gun” candidate in the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program earlier this year, his campaign said. The Republican was recently endorsed by Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena.
“I am confident that George will deliver solutions in Washington, D.C. George is a friend and true leader with a passion for the people,” DeSena said in a statement. “He’s about fixing government and getting things done, and that’s the type of representation we need.”
Santos, who is running for his first elected public office, said DeSena is an inspiration and problem solver.
“I am honored to have the endorsement of North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena,” he said. “When the government cannot agree on anything, Supervisor DeSena makes things happen.”