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Rep. Tom Suozzi to decide on run for governor in coming weeks

ALBANY, NY (WSKG) - Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat from Long Island, is “seriously considering” a run for governor in next year’s election, and will make a final decision by the end of the month, he told reporters Thursday.

Suozzi said, if he ran, he would push back against the “far-left” wing of the party, which has gained momentum in Congress and the state Legislature in recent years.

“We have to be willing to stand up to the far left, because that message they’re doing from the Democratic Socialist wing of the Democratic Party is destroying the party,” Suozzi said. “It's not what the American people want. And it's bad for America. And it's not a winning message.”

Those comments came after Democrats were handed a few key defeats on Election Day. India Walton, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist, lost her campaign for mayor of Buffalo to incumbent Byron Brown, who staged a write-in campaign.

On Long Island, Republicans defeated Democrats in the races for Nassau County District Attorney and Suffolk County District Attorney, both of which were won by Democrats in the last cycle.

Suozzi said Democrats lost those races because voters weren’t interested in policies supported by the Democratic candidates, like efforts to redistribute funding for law enforcement and new criminal justice laws approved by the state Legislature.

When asked if he would attempt to change the state’s recent laws on cash bail as governor, Suozzi said he would “definitely” look to amend that statute.

“I definitely would. I definitely would change it,” Suozzi said. “There has to be a balance.”

Suozzi said he’ll spend the next few weeks meeting with campaign consultants and those in Democratic circles to gauge whether he could win a primary in next year’s race.

As of Thursday, Gov, Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James were the only two Democrats to formally announce a run. Others are considering, but haven’t announced, like New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Suozzi said he didn’t want to criticize anyone who’s already entered the race, but that, if he ran, he would be the only candidate who’s openly rejected the Democratic Socialist wing of the party.

“No candidate, none of them, has stood up to the far left,” Suozzi said. “They're either outright embracing the far left, or they're playing footsie with the far left. They're not picking a side.”

If Suozzi decided to jump into the race for governor, it wouldn’t be his first campaign for the job. He ran in the Democratic primary against former Gov. Eliot Spitzer in the 2006 election, but lost that race.

He’s been a member of Congress since 2017, after winning a crowded primary for the Long Island district in 2016, and going on to defeat the Republican candidate in the race, former State Sen. Jack Martins.