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Republicans to target Rep. Thomas Suozzi in 2018 midterm elections


Rep. Tom Suozzi visited Newsday to talk about his first weeks in Congress representing the 3rd Congressional District.

Just weeks into his freshman term, Rep. Thomas Suozzi of Glen Cove is on a list of House Democrats being targeted in 2018 by the GOP majority’s campaign arm.

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday released the names of 36 Democratic lawmakers it believes are beatable in next year’s midterm elections. Only two New Yorkers were on the list: Suozzi, who represents the 3rd District covering northern Nassau County, as well as parts of Suffolk and Queens, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of the Hudson Valley’s 18th District.

Maloney represents a district that President Donald Trump won narrowly, but in Suozzi’s district, Democrat Hillary Clinton beat Trump by six percentage points — one fewer than the margin by which Suozzi defeated Republican Jack Martins.

“Long Island voters aren’t shy when it comes to split-ticket voting,” NRCC spokesman Chris Pack said, when asked why the committee was targeting Suozzi. “Tom Suozzi has a history of raising taxes on Long Island families by hundreds of millions of dollars and accepting huge taxpayer-funded pay raises.”

Pack was referring to Suozzi’s 2002-2009 tenure as Nassau County executive, which, amid a county budget crisis, included property tax increases totaling more than 20 percent and a new tax on home heating oil. Suozzi also accepted a $65,000 raise while in office as part of a proposal made by a bipartisan panel and approved by the county legislature.

In response to the NRCC’s move, Kim Devlin, a political adviser for Suozzi, said in a statement: “The election just ended and they’re already looking at the next one. This is why nothing ever gets done. Tom is not worried about some list, he’s too focused on working in a bipartisan way with other members to try and solve the problems facing our country and to serve the residents of his district.”

The NRCC list comes on the heels of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last month releasing its own initial target list. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who was easily elected last year to his second term representing eastern Suffolk County’s 1st District, was the only Long Island lawmaker named.

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