New York Democrats tap former Rep. Tom Suozzi to run in congressional special election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former congressman Tom Suozzi will be the Democratic candidate in the Feb. 13 special election to succeed ousted lawmaker George Santos in the U.S. House of Representatives, local party leaders said on Thursday.

Suozzi, who had previously held the seat before resigning to mount an ultimately unsuccessful run for New York governor, was one of at least 19 people who had filed to run for Santos’ former seat. The congressional district includes part of New York City’s Queens borough and Long Island suburbs to the east.

“Tom Suozzi has a proven record of fighting for his constituents, fighting to safeguard our suburban way of life here on Long Island and Queens and always advocating for sensible solutions to the real challenges affecting everyday average Americans,” Democratic officials Jay Jacobs and Gregory Meeks, who is also a congressman, said in a statement.

Other Democrats who had filed to run included a former state senator, a surgery center executive and a county legislator, among others.

The Republicans have not yet announced their candidate.

In a race expected to be competitive, the Democrats are seeking to take back the seat and make a further dent in Republicans’ narrow 221-213 House majority. Their margin was whittled down further when the chamber moved in a bipartisan 311-114 vote last Friday to expel Santos from the House.

Santos, 35, who served 11 months of his two-year term, was the sixth lawmaker in U.S. history to be expelled after he fabricated significant portions of his biography on the campaign trail and was indicted on corruption charges.

He has pleaded not guilty to the 23 charges against him filed by federal prosecutors. His trial is scheduled to start on Sept. 9, 2024.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; editing by Jonathan Oatis)