Long Island NY-3 congressional race to replace Rep. Tom Suozzi heats up ahead of Democratic primary

The race to replace incumbent Rep. Tom Suozzi in a recently redesigned Long Island congressional district is heating up ahead of the August 23 primary election fast approaching.

A cacophony of Democratic candidates are vying for the spot in the 3rd congressional district amid accusations that one of the frontrunners is a conservative in Democratic attire.

Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan, backed by Suozzi last month, twice ran for office to the conservative party line and drew ire from Democrats for backing a bill the last year that would have allowed cops to sue protesters for harassing them while on duty.

The 28-year-old, who has also contributed to local Republican clubs, changed his party registration to Democrat late last year as he announced his candidacy for Congress.

“Josh Lafazan’s record as a conservative sympathizer is disqualifying and shows that Democrats cannot be trusted to defend our values ​​in Washington,” Jason Kaplan, spokesman for rival candidate Robert Zimmerman, said in a statement.

Zimmerman, a longtime Democratic National Committee member and fundraiser, has racked up major supporters — including Hillary Clinton and state comptroller Tom DiNapoli — as he battles Lafazan, the former city supervisor of North Hempstead Jon Kaiman, progressive activist Melanie D’Arrigo and businesswoman Reema Rasool.

Lafazan adviser Kim Devlin said that despite the allegations, the young lawmaker is in the best position to take on Republican George Santos in November’s general election.

“Josh is winning tough races in tough years, having retained a Trump district as a Democrat three times,” she said. “Josh is ready to take this fight for Democratic values ​​to Congress and deliver for Nassau and Queens.”

“Cavort with the conservatives, seduce the right while dancing with the Democrats. Josh Lafazan should pick sides,” Jon Kaiman said. “I did it [pick a side] a long time ago. I am a democrat.

Suozzi, who gave up his seat to run unsuccessfully against Gov. Hochul in the June gubernatorial primary, hailed Lafazan as “a common-sense Democrat, just like me.”

The redesigned 3rd Congressional District centers on Nassau, covering most of suburban Long Island County as well as a slice of eastern Queens.

Although it is still a majority Democratic district, Republicans are hoping to swing the seat to the right.

Republican Bruce Blakeman ousted incumbent Democrat Laura Curran in a tight county leadership race last fall, and Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly beat former Democratic Sen. Todd Kaminsky in a centered race. on state guarantee reforms.

D’Arrigo has the support of the progressive Working Families Party and has carved a path to the left of his competitors, while Kaiman enjoys widespread recognition in the neighborhood thanks to a long public career. He is currently the Deputy County Manager for Suffolk.

Whoever wins the Aug. 23 Democratic primary will face a tough general election as Santos strives to continue last year’s red wave and help Republicans regain control of the House.

The gay, first-generation American conservative who describes himself as a seasoned Wall Street financier and investor, has focused on the economy and inflation in recent social media posts and videos.

“Liberal policies have resulted in a higher cost of living, increased crime and lower trust in America,” he tweeted recently. “We can solve this problem, but we need new and better leadership.”

Lynn A. Saleh