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Who is Tom Suozzi, Democrat in New York’s special election

Tom Suozzi, the Democrat in New York’s 3rd congressional race, is well-known on Long Island.

Twenty years ago, he was a mayor and rising star in the Democratic Party. Now, at 61, Suozzi is in a neck-and-neck race with little-known Republican Mazi Pilip, and barely mentions in his ads that he is a Democrat.

And a clip from one of his ill-fated runs for governor — purporting to show him soft on immigration — is now a staple of Republican attack ads against him.

In 1993, Suozzi was elected mayor of Glen Cove, a small city on Long Island, one of the few bright spots for Democrats at the time. In 2001, he won a hard-fought primary for Nassau County executive, and defeated the Republican candidate in the general election, capturing a seat that had been held by Republicans for years. As a certified public accountant, Suozzi billed himself as a technocrat who could lower taxes and crime while boosting the economy and local services.

From the county’s executive office, Suozzi aimed higher and waged a primary campaign for governor against the party’s preferred candidate, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Suozzi got crushed in that 2006 primary, and in 2009, he narrowly lost his bid for a third term as county executive. In 2013, Suozzi lost a race to recapture the county executive seat.

After a few years in the private sector, Suozzi returned to electoral politics, winning a congressional seat that included parts of Nassau County and Queens. Suozzi held the seat for three terms, casting himself as a moderate.

In 2020, he fended off a little-known Republican challenger named George Santos. And in 2022, Suozzi chose not to seek reelection, opting instead to run another primary campaign for governor. This time, he ran against Kathy Hochul, who was elevated to the position in August 2021 when Andrew M. Cuomo resigned amid accusations he harassed several women.

Hochul defeated Suozzi and another primary challenger, but not before Suozzi bragged during a debate that he “kicked ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] out of Nassau County.”

That clip is now featured in a host of Republican attack ads in the congressional race.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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