With James out of governor’s race, Suozzi sees opportunity

Publication: Spectrum News
By: Nick Reisman | City of Albany

In the last several months, Gov. Kathy Hochul has solidified her chances of winning a full, four-year term next year: Her chief rival, Attorney General Letitia James, dropped her bid for governor, labor unions and elected officials are flocking to endorse her and she’s raised millions of dollars in campaign cash.

But U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi remains undaunted, and believes the narrowed field could be good for him as he seeks the Democratic nomination for governor next June.

“I think if I talk about my executive experience, my common sense approach to governing, showing I can do it, then I’ll win this race,” Suozzi told reporters on Monday. “It’s going to require me to raise a lot of money and build a coalition, but I’m staying in the race.”

Hochul at the moment faces Suozzi, as well as New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is also considering a campaign as well.

James exited the race last week, opting instead to run for re-election as the state attorney general — a development that ultimately led to every prominent Democratic candidate ending their own campaigns.  But Suozzi indicated Monday no such plans to suspend his campaign.

“I think it’s better for me that she’s out of the race,” he said. “I’m staying in the race.”

Suozzi on Monday held a virtual news conference to critique Hochul’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic so far. He’s in favor of mask mandates, encouraging vaccinations and booster shots — all items checked off by Hochul. But he believes the state needs to take a more targeted approach through identifying “microclusters” and thinks there needs to be a better effort at “marketing” the measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

“The challenge is it’s not being delivered in a comprehensive way and sold to the public,” he said.