Rep. Tom Suozzi, a centrist Long Island Democrat, on Monday announced his candidacy for governor of New York in his party’s primary next June.
This is good news to those worried about New York’s leftward political rush — a shift that Suozzi’s presence in the primary would likely slow.
To be clear, this is by no means an endorsement of Suozzi’s candidacy; it’s far too soon for that, and the congressman may have some of his own baggage.
But it’s not too soon to lament Gov. Kathy Hochul’s obeisance to her party’s left wing: Her lieutenant-governor pick, former state Sen. Brian Benjamin, for example, was a prime backer of New York’s lunatic bail “reforms.” She also rushed to extend the eviction moratorium and readily caved to the school-masking insanity.
Likely to tug her even further leftward are opponents Attorney General Letitia James, a longtime progressive, and hard-left gadfly Jumaane Williams, New York City’s public advocate. (Unannounced but lurking is Mayor Bill de Blasio, because every campaign needs comic relief, right?)
Hochul has a healthy early poll lead, but that’s not likely to discourage Suozzi. The fellow was obliterated by Eliot Spitzer in the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary, after all, but got right back into public life.
A former four-term mayor of Glen Cove and a two-term Nassau County executive, Suozzi is now in his third House term — and a common thread runs through his career: His approach to governance is far more utilitarian than ideological.
Whether the current iteration of the New York Democratic Party will embrace a policy wonk for the state’s highest office remains to be seen, but his arrival in the race is a welcome development. Especially if it pulls the group, particularly Hochul, closer to the center.