Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who represents the 3rd District,...

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who represents the 3rd District, says he is still in the running for the gubernatorial primaries. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

With Rep. Tom Suozzi still committed to a gubernatorial bid, the 3rd Congressional District he represents has become one of the more intriguing political zones on Long Island, attracting hopefuls from different ideological lanes.

On one side, Nassau County Legis. Joshua Lafazan launched a bid this week touting his youth and electability with a "record of winning across party lines," according to an announcement email.

Lafazan, who had been an independent who caucused with Democrats, just switched his party registration to the D side, a move which took effect Dec. 1.

On the more left-leaning side is former CD3 primary challenger Melanie D'Arrigo of Port Washington, whose vote total Suozzi more than doubled in 2020. She has recently earned endorsements from activist groups like No IDC NY, which challenged Independent Democratic Conference incumbents in the State Legislature in 2018. In the wake of Suozzi’s gubernatorial bid, she’s calling herself the "progressive frontrunner."

It’s a familiar partisan breakdown in the district, where Suozzi has for years boasted of his bipartisanship and activists have sniped about the same. Lafazan is already facing criticism from the likes of David Kilmnick of the LGBT Network and NAACP Long Island regional director Tracey Edwards for his legislative attempt earlier this year to enhance legal protections for law enforcement and other first responders under the county Human Rights Law.

It was seen as a way to gain favor with police and their supporters in a red-wave year ahead of a tight legislative race that Lafazan went on to win. But some of the law’s detractors considered it a philosophical about-face.

Sedgwick V. Easley, pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Hempstead, told The Point he stood with Lafazan during the legislator’s push to rename a county building after Shirley Chisholm in 2020. But he felt the police bill showed that Lafazan "is not clear on what side of the issues that he stands on."

Lafazan says that he’ll "never apologize for supporting first responders," but said that the bill "could have been written better" and that he learned the importance of speaking to community leaders affected by legislation.

Meanwhile, other potential candidates from Democratic National Committee member and communications professional Robert Zimmerman to Suffolk Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman have kept their names in the offing while Suozzi’s statewide race and CD3’s borders in the current redistricting process shake out.

Then there’s Reema Rasool of Oyster Bay who is planning to announce "within the coming weeks," says spokesman Luca Rallis. Rasool has a consulting firm which is described as "Branding, Marketing and Strategy for the Luxury Market" on its Facebook page, and Rallis describes the potential Democratic political hopeful as a "pragmatic progressive" who would fight for such things as Medicare For All and an end to the country’s gun violence epidemic.

While the water’s still inviting, don’t expect her to be the last.


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