Rep. Tom Suozzi, Democratic candidate for governor, announces Diana Reyna...

Rep. Tom Suozzi, Democratic candidate for governor, announces Diana Reyna as his choice for lieutenant governor Wednesday in New York. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Rep. Tom Suozzi on Wednesday announced he’s selected Diana Reyna, a former Brooklyn councilwoman, to be his lieutenant governor running mate in Democratic primary.

Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who is challenging Gov. Kathy Hochul for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, said Reyna would be the first Latina elected to statewide office if she wins. Besides the New York City Council, Reyna, 48, also served as a deputy to Eric Adams when the now-mayor was Brooklyn borough president.

"Diana believes that public service is about getting things done to improve the lives of the people we serve," Suozzi said in a statement. "The historic significance of Diana’s candidacy represents a new beginning for the Latino community, that for too long has been effectively denied a seat at the table of state government."

Suozzi is taking on Hochul in a Democratic primary rather than run for reelection to Congress. He announced Reyna as his running mate hours before Democrats were scheduled to open their state convention in Manhattan, where Hochul is expected to easily win a vote to become the party’s designated candidate.

New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams also is competing for governor and trying to secure enough delegates' votes to get on the primary ballot. Suozzi is expected to go another route: Securing enough petition signatures to qualify for the primary.

Reyna painted herself and Suozzi as candidates who will stand up to Albany insiders.

"Tom Suozzi and I won’t hide from the tough issues, won’t pander to the political left or right, and will stand up to the special interests and lobbyists that have been choking Albany for decades," Reyna said. "As the first Latina to serve in a statewide position, I will bring a deep sense of empathy, background, and experiences to the job to represent every person in every corner of the state."

Diana Reyna speaks to the press after Rep. Tom Suozzi,...

Diana Reyna speaks to the press after Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democratic candidate for governor, announced her as his choice for lieutenant governor Wednesday in New York. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Reyna represented parts of Brooklyn and Queens on the City Council from 2001-13. She also once was chief of staff to late Assemb. Vito Lopez, who resigned in 2013 after being accused of and fined for sexually harassing aides. She was Adams' deputy for four years ending in January 2018.

Though candidates can campaign as teams, the governor and lieutenant governor races have separate primaries -- Reyna would face Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, Hochul's running mate. Occasionally in state history, governors have wound up running in the fall with a running mate not of their choosing.

The opening of the party convention coincided with a swirl of other campaign developments. State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) announced he would not seek reelection. A day earlier, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) surprised party leaders by saying she, too, wouldn't seek reelection.

Both moves set off a scramble for potential candidates.

Among those interested in running for Rice's seat: Former Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen and Nassau County legislators Kevan Abrahams, Siela Bynoe and Carrie Solages.

One name that won't be in the running: Former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who told party officials she wouldn't run.

The first day of the convention is filled with routine party business, such as meetings held by various caucuses. The designating of candidates -- the heart of the convention business -- takes place on Thursday.

Hochul, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Letitia James all are expected to easily win the majority of delegates' votes.

Suozzi is expected to address delegates at a breakfast Thursday.

Latest videos