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Hochul in control

At this point, it looks like it’s Kathy Hochul’s job to lose.
According to a Siena College poll released this week, the current governor holds a double-digit lead over her next closest challenger, Attorney General Letitia James.
In a survey of registered Democrats, if the primary were held today, 36 percent said they would vote for Hochul to represent the party in next year’s general election, while 18 percent said they backed James.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams would get 10 percent of the vote, while Mayor Bill de Blasio and Congressman Tom Suozzi would each get 6 percent of the vote. Twenty-four percent said they are undecided or back another candidate, which means there’s still plenty of undecided voters out there for the candidates to sway.
Suozzi announced his intent to run last week, turning down an offer by mayor-elect Eric Adams to join him at City Hall and serve as deputy mayor.
Suozzi’s decision reportedly upset some in the Democratic Party, who would prefer that he focus on re-election to Congress, especially after the GOP did much better than expected in local races in Suozzi’s current congressional district, which includes parts of Queens and Nassau County.
With Suozzi focused on running for governor, the seat could be vulnerable to being flipped by Republicans, who are focused on taking back the majority in the House next year.
There was also speculation that Suozzi and the governor would be competing for the same voters, namely conservative-leaning Democrats, making it harder for her to win re-election and opening the door for a progressive candidate like James or Williams.
As for now, it doesn’t look like Hochul has to worry about that, but there’s still a long way to go until the June primary.

Suozzi’s folly

Dear Editor,
I couldn’t believe the shortsightedness and purely narcissistic comments Congressman Thomas Souzzi made about running for governor.
Regarding Congress, he said “I’m hoping we win the majority again and we may not, it doesn’t matter. I’m running for governor.”
It doesn’t matter? The GOP taking over the House with Kevin McCarthy, who denies the treasonous attack of January 6 and shows no respect for the rule of law, as speaker doesn’t matter?
The same Kevin McCarthy who was against the infrastructure legislation that will provide jobs for New York State? That doesn’t matter because Suozzi wants the job he was made for?
I have news for you Mr. Suozzi, things are bigger than you. To say that it “doesn’t matter” makes Suozzi yet another Democrat like Senator Joe Manchin, who will sabotage the goals of a sitting Democratic president.
Yes it does matter, how can it possibly not?
Sincerely,
Stew Frimer
Forest Hills

Suozzi to enter governor’s race

Tom Suozzi isn’t bolting Congress to join the incoming Eric Adams administration as a deputy mayor, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his sights set on changing jobs.
Adams extended the invitation to Suozzi the week before Thanksgiving, and Suozzi said he would take the holiday week to think about it. But he also added the caveat that he was also interested in joining an increasingly crowded Democratic Primary for governor.
Former governor Andrew Cuomo’s term was up at the end of next year, which means Governor Kathy Hochul will already have to defend the seat she was given when Cuomo left office in disgrace.
Other Democrats who have already announced their intent to run include Attorney Letitia James and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
Suozzi’s announcement could be a problem for Hochul. Both Williams and James will run progressive campaigns, while Hochul would likely position herself as a more centrist Democrat to appeal to suburban and upstate voters.
The problem is that’s exactly the same space that Suozzi plans to occupy.
When Suozzi announced his decision on Monday, he said he would be running as a “common-sense Democrat” focused on working-class issues, such as lower income and property taxes and putting more cops on the streets.
He also said he was opposed to key issues that appeal to left-leaning Democrats. He is against a carbon tax in New York, saying that should be left to the federal government, as well as a bill that would make it harder for landlords to evict tenants without a court order.
Suozzi has name recognition on Long Island, as in addition to representing Nassau and Queens counties in Congress, Suozzi served as Nassau County executive before he was sent to Washington by voters in 2017.
Republicans made several key gains in local elections last year, which shows voters are pushing back against progressive politics and leaning more conservative. Suozzi’s political record, as well as his stance on key issues like taxes and crime, would appeal to just those type of voters.
Unfortunately for Hochul, she was counting on those voters, as well.
And it won’t hurt Suozzi that he is already thought of highly by Adams, which will help with voters in New York City. An endorsement from Adams – still a long ways off! – would be a big coup for Suozzi and can only help him with voters who might have been leaning toward James or Williams.
It’s been a long time since New York City has had a governor and mayor who actually like each other, let alone simply show even a modicum of professionalism and respect.
Reports indicated that in recent weeks party strategists were urging Suozzi to steer clear of the governor’s race and instead focus on winning back his congressional seat, which is now seen as being flippable by Republicans if the incumbent were to leave it vacant.
House Democrats are already holding onto a tenuous majority, and replacing Suozzi with a member of the GOP will only exacerbate that issue.
When asked about just that at his announcement, Suozzi had this to say:
“Congress is great, and I’m hoping we’re gonna win the majority again, and we may not, we may, it doesn’t matter. I’m running for governor, because I believe that this is the job that I am made for. Everything I’ve done has prepared me for this particular job at this particular time.”
At least one Republican candidate has already announced they would challenge Suozzi in 2022. Kevin Surdi, an ER nurse, wasted no time in characterizing Suozzi’s decision as that of an incumbent who knows they don’t stand a chance at winning reelection.
“After the Republican tidal wave in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties, career politician Tom Suozzi sees the writing on the wall and is once again putting his ambition above his constituents,” the Surdi campaign said in statement. “CD-3 is red and he knows it.”
Next year is shaping up to be a busy one for Suozzi.

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