Thomas Suozzi to return to legal career after Nassau election loss

With his wife Helene at his side, Thomas Suozzi waves to his supporters after conceding his race for county executive to Ed Mangano. (Nov. 5, 2013)

Thomas Suozzi, who was defeated Tuesday in his rematch with County Executive Edward Mangano, said Wednesday that he plans to take a short vacation with his family before returning to his legal career and that he has not given any thought to running for public office again.

A dejected Suozzi said in an interview that he wants to remain a factor in helping to solve county issues, possibly by working with a nonprofit group.

"I see myself spending more time with my family, working in the private sector and earning a living, and helping the county in any way I can," said Suozzi, who served two terms as county executive.


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After his first loss to Mangano, a Republican, in 2009, Suozzi took several jobs in the private sector, including his current role as an attorney at the Uniondale law firm of Harris Beach. But they were not personally fulfilling, he said, and he felt compelled to return to politics to help solve Nassau's problems.

As for another run for office, "I am not even thinking about it," Suozzi said.

Friends and political colleagues said they doubt Suozzi would run again, but believe he will remain an influential and sought-after voice in the party.

"For now, I don't think Tom has the appetite for" another run, said Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs. "But, in the long-term, things have a way of changing. You never know what will happen four, six or eight years down the road."

Dave Mejias, a former Democratic legislator from Farmingdale, said Suozzi has the skills and intellect to become a talented political or business consultant, a party leader or the head of a think tank.

"A lot of people will seek out Tom's help," said Mejias, a longtime friend.

Mejias, who served three terms in the legislature before losing to Republican Joseph Belesi in 2009, speculated that "Tom will not be seeking elected office anytime soon."

But former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who runs the Center for Cost Effective Government in Bayport, which focuses on inefficiency in government, said it's too soon to count Suozzi out.

"The public mood can change big time," said Levy, who served two terms before declining to seek re-election after prosecutors raised questions about his campaign financing. "You never say never. Politics is in Tom's blood."

Top county Democratic officials met Wednesday at the party's headquarters in Carle Place to discuss the election results and strategize about the future. Jacobs said he did not expect major changes in the party and that the organization remains strong.

Suozzi Wednesday sent an email about his defeat to Nassau Democratic candidates and their staffs.

"Last night was a crushing loss," Suozzi wrote. "Ed Mangano and the GOP's straightforward and simple message clearly resonated with the voters. We had good candidates and a well-run campaign that worked hard and ran well. Our message, while accurate, was simply not compelling or easy to understand."

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