SUOZZI WINS DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY; LIKELY TO FACE TOUGH RACE AGAINST STATE SENATOR MARTINS
July 1, 2016 -- Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi won by a fairly comfortable margin the June 28 Primary election to represent the Democratic Party in the contest to fill New York’s 3rd Congressional district seat being vacated by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington). Mr. Suozzi is likely to face Republican State Senator Jack Martins (SD-7), who has also received the endorsements of the Conservative and Reform parties, in the general election to be held on November 7 in what many political analyststs consider to be one of the most competitive House races this year.
As is typical and discouraging in primary elections, only about 10% of registered Democrats showed up to the polls, with 35.33% of that minority supporting Mr. Suozzi, 22.01% Suffolk County legislator Steve Stern, 21.96% former Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, 15.23% Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, and 4.92% voting for Jonathan Clarke, a Jericho attorney and the only Democratic candidate from outside the political establishment.
Running on the slogan “Get’s It Done,” Mr. Suozzi, whether it was at a Glen Cove Town Hall Meeting, a Sea Cliff fundraiser, or a debate in Great Neck this past spring, rather than espousing specific policy pronouncements, has outlined broad goals and portrayed himself as a pragmatic centrist with the experience and skills to accomplish them in the polarized political climate that has paralyzed Washington D.C. since 2011.
Mr. Suozzi returned to the theme on primary night after it was clear that he had won the election. Citing national debates over gun control, immigration, climate change and healthcare, the Democratic nominee said, "there's a problem in America right now - everyone is just screaming at each other. Just because you're a Democrat and you're a Republican, we're going to yell at each other - we're not going to solve anything. We have to change the culture in this country. We're going to go to Washington and solve problems and make people's lives better."
Mr. Suozzi's likely opponent, Senator Martins, whose district covers the Town of North Hempstead including Roslyn Harbor, Greenvale and areas of Glenwood Landing, although endorsed by the Republican Party establishment, is currently facing a legal challenge to his nomination, which has not yet been certified by the New York State Board of Elections.
That lawsuit is being brought by Philip Pidot, of Glen Cove, who acquired more than enough signatures to have his name placed on the Republican primary ballot only to have many invalidated as a result on challenges by Mr. Martins' campaign, leaving him 16 signatures short.
Mr. Pidot has had a long career in the financial services industry and recently formed Glen Cove United - an organization that seeks to bring greater transparency to Glen Cove City Hall. Additionally, he is a member of the the Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront which has brought a lawsuit against the City of Glen Cove to block the proposed 11 story Garvies Point development.
Mr. Pidot's suit, for which a hearing will be held on July 11th requests that the Board of Elections schedule another primary with his name on the ballot.
Senator Martins, who was elected to the New York State Senate in 2010 after having served 10 years as Mayor of Mineola, has received strong support from the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee which has designated him one of 43 "Young Guns" - a program through which the Committee "supports and mentors challenger and open-seat candidates in races across the country" that are considered especially competitive.
Although registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans and Conservatives in the 3rd District 185,541 to 146,792 to 6,489, the race is likely to be a close one, with election handicappers including the Cook Political Report, Sabato's Crystal Ball, The Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report, and Ballotpedia calling the race a “Toss-up” - only one of three seats in the House currently held by a Democrat to receive such a designation.
In 2014, incumbent representative Steve Israel defeated by only nine percentage points the relatively unknown Republican Grant Lally a Lloyd Harbor attorney who had never held elective office.
Mr. Martins has done well in elections in his district in which Democrats outnumber Republicans 87,000 to 66,000, winning by more than 13 percentage points in 2014 against the fairly well-known and deep pocketed Adam Haber (who once again is the Democratic nominee for the 7th Senate District seat in this November's election).
In 2013, Mr. Suozzi’s effort to retake the County Executive’s office from Ed Mangano, who had defeated him by fewer than 250 votes in 2009, fell short by 18 percentage points, despite Democrats outnumbering Republicans in the county.
Democrats, however, have historically done better in Presidential election years when significantly larger percentages of voters registered in the party have turned out to the polls.
In 2012, Mr. Martins won his district narrowly 51.8% to 48.2% over the relatively unknown Democrat, Daniel Ross, an automobile sales manager and volunteer firefighter from Great Neck, and Representative Israel won the 3rd Congressional District more comfortably - by nearly 15 percentage points - over his opponent Steven Labate in an election that had nearly double the voter turnout than the election two years later.
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Source - NewYork State Board of Elections