Former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), a Democrat who represented New York’s 3rd Congressional District for six years, has been selected by the party to run in a special election next February for his old post.
The special election will be held to replace George Santos, who was expelled from Congress on Dec. 1, finish his current term and take place on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
The announcement was made Thursday afternoon by state and Nassau County Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs and Rep. Gregory Meeks, the Queens County Democratic chair.
“On behalf of the Nassau County and Queens County Democratic Committees, we are very pleased to announce the official selection this afternoon of Thomas R. Suozzi of Glen Cove to be our nominee for the Special Election in the Third Congressional District of New York,” the two said in a statement. “Tom Suozzi has a proven record of fighting for his constituents, fighting to safeguard our suburban way of life here on Long Island and Queens and always advocating for sensible solutions to the real challenges affecting everyday average Americans.”
Jacobs and Meeks went on to say they look forward to working with Suozzi’s campaign to restore “integrity, competence and a focus on the real needs” of the district and its constituents.
Suozzi launched his campaign Saturday afternoon in Levittown at the home of Tom Cavanagh, a retired NYPD deputy police inspector, and was joined by hundreds of supporters.
“I have always worked with anyone of goodwill, regardless of party affiliation, if it meant working to fix things and deliver results to the people I represented,” said Suozzi.
Due to the nature of a special election, candidates are not voted on in a primary by constituents in the district. Other candidates who were running for the seat alongside Suozzi were former state Sen. Anna Kaplan, Austin Cheng, Scott Livingston and Darius Radzius.
Suozzi’s appointment was made in conjunction with top party officials, including Gov. Kathy Hochul and House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, among others.
Suozzi represented the 3rd District from 2017 to 2013 and chose not to run for re-election last year amid a failed gubernatorial run, one that was criticized by party leaders at the time.
In the House, Suozzi was a member of the Ways and Means Committee, the chief tax-writing committee and the vice-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus. Suozzi has also been an advocate of increasing the cap on state and local taxes, known also as the SALT cap.
Earlier this week, Hochul called Suozzi – a bitter rival during their primary campaigns last year – to the Executive Mansion in Albany, The New York Times reported.
Hochul reportedly asked Suozzi for his campaign plans, to fully defend abortion rights and not run ads that damage the Democratic party’s brand, The Times reported.
After accepting each request, Suozzi reportedly apologized for previous campaign messaging last year that questioned Hochul’s family’s ethics.
Before Congress, Suozzi’s political career began as mayor of Glen Cove 31 in 1993, following the footsteps of his father and uncle.
After four terms, in 2001 Suozzi was the first Democrat elected as Nassau County Executive in 30 years.
During his time as executive, he lost the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006 to former state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
Suozzi then lost to Republican Ed Mangano in both 2009 and a rematch in 2013 before defeating state Sen. Jack Martins in 2016 for the 3rd District after Democrat Steve Israel retired from Congress.
Republicans have not yet picked Suozzi’s opponent, which could be announced as soon as Friday or next week, according to multiple reports.
Among the candidates mentioned or announced are Martins, Nassau County Legislator Mazi Pilip, Afghanistan war veteran and former J.P. Morgan Vice President Kellen Curry and retired NYPD Det. Mike Sapraicone,
February’s special election will have major implications for Congress, where Republicans now have a 221-213 majority in the lower chamber without Santos.
In 2020, President Joe Biden won the district over then-President Donald Trump.
In the years since, Republicans have done well in local races, flipping the Nassau County executive and district attorney seats and the state Senate seat in the district while North Hempstead turned and stayed Republican in 2021 and 2023.
Republicans currently have control of both counties on Long Island and all three towns in Nassau.
The House Democratic super PAC shortly after Santos’ expulsion announced plans to spend big to flip the seat back from Republicans.
“House Majority PAC plans to play a significant role in the NY-03 special election, and we will do whatever it takes to flip this district blue,” House Majority PAC President Mike Smith previously said in a statement.
Smith also said Thursday that Suozzi has a proven record of prioritizing his communities and that he has “cemented himself as a steady hand and trusted leader.”
House Speaker Mike Johnson earlier this month attended multiple fundraisers in the state for both state Republicans and individual members of Congress, including Anthony D’Esposito of the 4th Congressional District.
D’Esposito is one of 17 House Republicans that represent districts Biden won in 2020. Biden won NY-4 by 17 points. In New York, Democrats lost six congressional races last year that Biden carried in 2020.
Johnson told the audience at one of the events in Manhattan that he will become “an honorary New Yorker” in the upcoming election cycle, according to the New York Post.
The congressional district maps may look different between now and the November election next year as the Court of Appeals hears arguments on whether the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission and can new House maps.
The commission, made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, failed to reach a consensus on maps for 2022, causing the Democratic-controlled state Legislature to create its own.
The Democrats’ proposal, which would have given them a strong majority of registered voters in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional districts, was said to be gerrymandered and rejected by the state’s Supreme Court.
The current map of the district which was eventually won by Santos was submitted by court-appointed a “special master” who was viewed as more neutral. Democrats are arguing that the current maps are only a “temporary fix” and new ones should be redrawn.
A previous version of this story was published. It has since been updated.