The New York Democrat who is quitting Congress for a longshot governor bid

The three-term congressman said he won’t be daunted by the perceived long odds.

By: Anna Gronewold

ALBANY, N.Y. — Just 6 percent of New York Democrats would back New York Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi for governor, according to the most recent polling, which tied him for last place in the primary race this year.

The chair of the state party is publicly encouraging him to drop his primary challenge against Gov. Kathy Hochul, a fellow Democrat who both the right and left called a political force even before she announced a $21 million war chest and a budget full of spending for all.

But Suozzi has a plan.

It requires roughly $15 million, a very specific coalition of support and for New York voters to hold a level of mistrust toward Hochul’s fledgling administration, according to an internal memo shared with POLITICO that lays out the campaign’s next steps.

The three-term congressman from Long Island, who also ran a long-shot gubernatorial primary against then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in 2006, said he won’t be daunted by the perceived long odds.

And he brushes aside concerns that leaving his House seat could make it vulnerable for a GOP takeover in November.

“I have almost an obligation to try and stand up for the country, for the state, for the party,” he said in an interview. “I just see this very clearly, what needs to be done. I feel like this is what I should be doing. And it may be a very tough battle.”