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Tom Suozzi wins backing of key Democratic rival in race for Santos' NY Congress seat

Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

NEW YORK — Ex-U.S.Rep. Tom Suozzi is clearing the Democratic field in his fight to flip the Long Island House seat that was left vacant by the expulsion of scandal-tarred ex-Rep. George Santos.

Former state Sen. Anna Kaplan suspended her campaign and endorsed Suozzi after he was picked by Democratic leaders to be the party’s standard bearer in the Feb. 13 special election.

“We need to start 2024 right and that means picking Tom Suozzi to flip this seat,” Kaplan said in a statement released Thursday night.

We need Democrats in office who will protect a woman’s right to choose, defend Social Security and Medicare and protect Israel,” she added.

Kaplan had been considered the most serious rival of Suozzi in the battle for the Democratic nomination in the marquee congressional matchup for the swing seat.

Kaplan had pitched Democratic bosses to pick her over Suozzi, saying she would make a stronger candidate because of her stronger pro-choice credentials and the fact that Suozzi gave up the seat last year to make an ill-fated run for governor.

She still has a hefty $1 million campaign war chest and is considered likely to run for the seat if Suozzi does not win the special election to fill out the remainder of Santos’ two-year term.

Republican leaders have been interviewing a large number of potential candidates. They plan to announce a pick next week.

 

Potential GOP candidates include Nassau County legislator Mazi Pilip, Air Force veteran Kellen Curry, and ex-NYPD cop Mike Sapraicone. Republican State Sen. Jack Martins represents most of the area but has said he’s not interested in running.

Unlike a normal congressional election, the special election rules call for party leaders to pick their candidates.

The district covers a swath of politically swingy suburban turf on the North Shore and a slice of far northeastern Queens.

It voted for President Biden by 8% in 2020. But Republicans have enjoyed a swing of recent political wins on Long Island, leading many analysts to call the special election a toss up.

Regardless of who wins the special election, both parties will hold primary elections and will clash in a general election in 2024 for a new two-year term.

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©2023 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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