Former Rep. Tom Suozzi.

Former Rep. Tom Suozzi. Credit: James Carbone

WASHINGTON — Democrat Tom Suozzi announced Tuesday he will run to reclaim his House seat in the 3rd Congressional District in Nassau and Queens counties, putting him in a crowded field seeking to replace Republican Rep. George Santos.

Suozzi enters a race in which 20 candidates have already filed to run, including eight Democrats and nine Republicans, and that promises to be a major focus of both parties in the race to win the majority of the House in the 2024 election.

“Today I’m filing a committee to run for Congress in November 2024,” Suozzi posted on social media, including X, formerly known as Twitter, and Facebook.

“You know me. I’ve never sat on the sidelines,” he said. “From the cost of living, to immigration, crime, climate change, and simply helping people, we need more common sense and less chaos and senseless fighting.”

Suozzi said he will hold a formal campaign kickoff after the local New York elections on Nov. 7.

By announcing now, Suozzi puts himself in a position to seek the nomination for a special election should Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) enter a plea deal to a federal 13-count indictment in his Oct. 27 court date. Santos has said he is not negotiating a plea deal.

If Santos steps down before July 1, Gov. Kathy Hochul has 10 days to call for a special election, which must be held between 70 days and 80 days after the announcement, according to New York State election law. Democratic and Republican leaders will choose their party's candidates for the special election. 

Suozzi, 61, of Glen Cove served from 2017 to 2022. He declined to run for reelection and instead launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor last year.

He left an open seat that Santos won in an upset during a red wave across New York in the 2022 election.

Since leaving Congress, Suozzi has worked as a co-chair of the global consulting firm Actum.

Suozzi will run in a differently configured district than the one he won three times, one that could be redrawn again early next year.

His rivals for the Democratic nomination already are attacking him for opening the door for a Santos victory by not running for reelection to Congress in 2022.

Suozzi will face several Democrats who already have raised more than $300,000 and likely will report raising more in the past three months to the FEC next week. They include former State Sen. Anna Kaplan and professional fundraiser Zak Malamed.

Businessman and Democratic National Committeeman Robert Zimmerman, the Democrats’ nominee who lost to Santos in 2022, has been mentioned as a possible candidate as well.

Jay Jacobs, Democratic chairman of the Nassau County and New York State Democratic committees, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Joseph Cairo, the Republican Party chairman in Nassau County, said he’s not surprised Suozzi is running again. “Tom is Tom,” Cairo said. “He's got more name recognition than some other Democrats but I think people want to look forward. Tom is in the past.”

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