Jon Kaiman, the former North Hempstead town supervisor, declared his candidacy for Congress on Thursday, seeking to replace Rep. Tom Suozzi in a swing district on Long Island.
Kaiman, 59, who currently serves as deputy county executive in Suffolk County, said he has filed paperwork to form a federal campaign committee. He told Newsday he wants to represent "traditional" Democratic values, saying, "I think some of that has been lost the last few years."
"The times that we’re in call for leadership, for people with experience with problem-solving, who have taken stands on issues," he said. "I do believe it’s time for people who have played a leadership role in the party to step up and reclaim leadership of the Democratic Party."
Kaiman added: "We too stand for protecting the public, for building the economy, for issues that are important to the entire general public. I think some of that has been lost the last few years. But my hope is I can represent the larger element within the party that stands for the traditional values of the Democratic Party."
Kaiman of Great Neck, joins Joshua Lafazan, a Nassau County legislator who lives in Woodbury, Reema Rasool of Oyster Bay and Melanie D’Arrigo of Port Washington as the Democrats who, so far, have said they are running to replace Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who is running for governor.
New York’s 3rd Congressional District stretches along the North Shore of Queens and Nassau and into Suffolk counties. But its boundaries will be changed at least minimally later this year when the State Legislature completes the decennial redistricting process for New York’s congressional seats.
In the past, the district has been solidly Democratic — Suozzi defeated Republican George Santos, 56% to 43%, in 2020.
Cook Political Report had listed it as "no or minimal risk" of party turnover in 2022, though that was before Suozzi’s announcement of his gubernatorial campaign.
Also, Democrats outnumber Republicans by 58,000 among active voters in the district, as currently drawn.
Republicans say they like their chances in the district after winning big races in Nassau and Suffolk in November. Santos has said he is running again. GOP leaders have said other candidates might emerge as well.
Suozzi won a multicandidate Democratic primary — which included Kaiman — in 2016 and now is in his third term in Congress. D’Arrigo, running from the political left of Suozzi, lost a primary to him in 2020.