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Thursday, January 12, 2006

NY-Gov: Tom Suozzi's Brain

Posted by DavidNYC

So Nassau County exec Tom Suozzi thinks he wants to challenge Eliot Spitzer. Here are possible scenarios for Suozzi, with my estimated likely outcome percentages:

1) He beats Spitzer in a primary. Ha ha.

2) He loses embarrassingly. 75% chance.

3) He loses, but by some arbitrary margin which insiders and the media agree means that he "did surprisingly well" and "raised his profile across the state." 25% chance.

Don't forget that no matter what the outcome, he will earn the undying ill will of many if not most Democrats throughout the state. I'm probably over-estimating Suozzi's odds of nailing #3, but in any event, that's his best-case scenario. But what does that even get him? In other words, where does he go with his newly-enhanced profile? Here are his options, and how viable they each look to me:

• Primary challenge again to incumbent Governor Eliot Spitzer in 2010. Whatever.

• Primary challenge to Senator-for-Life Chuck Schumer in 2010. Uh huh.

• Primary challenge to Spitzer's appointed replacement for Hillary Clinton (should she become President), presumably in 2010. Suozzi certainly won't be Spitzer's appointee. Bleak.

• Vie for Hillary's senate seat in 2012, possibly against Hillary herself. Ugh if it's Hillary. If it's an open seat, it'll be a lively primary, and Suozzi will be six years away from his crowning achievement... a primary loss to the incumbent governor.

Suozzi's choices, in other words, suck, no matter what. But what I should really say is that any overly ambitious New York politician not named Spitzer, Schumer or Clinton will have to cool his or her heels for quite a few years yet to come. There just aren't any good opportunities to move up the ranks (except for Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is poised for a strong NYC mayoral run in 2009).

Suozzi is manifestly impatient, to the point that it's very dangerous to his own dreams. Any run against Spitzer, as I say, would lead to a harsh and permanent backlash against him from many quarters. Moreover, he's already behaving in damaging ways - allegedly courting an endorsement from Republican (!) Tom Golisano, and receiving loud backing from Home Depot CEO & bigtime winger Kenneth Langone (who harbors a grudge against Spitzer).

Politicians do dumb stuff all the time. Most of the time (perhaps sadly) those stupid mistakes can be overcome. Tom Suozzi is about to embark on a different kind of mistake, though - the kind which can't be repaired or forgiven, and which will never be forgotten. I think his ability to damage Spitzer is mercifully quite limited, but I hate to see this kind of ridiculousness regardless. It's not too late to back out. I still maintain he should challenge Peter King in NY-03 (Suozzi lives in King's district). I hope he changes his mind.

Posted at 01:59 AM in 2006 Elections - State, New York | Technorati

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I agree about challenging Peter King -- while it would be a very tough race, it is 1) More winnable than anything else he's considering, 2) A race against a REPUBLICAN and not a suicide run against another Democrat, and 3) My guess is it would earn him the admiration of NY Democrats, taking on a tough but potentially vulnerable GOP Congressman.

So David, why doesn't he do it? Is this just a case of sadly-misplaced ego? He seems like very eager, attractive, potentially very solid candidate, and he's wasting that on a fool's errand.

Posted by: IndianaProgressive [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2006 02:43 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

As I say, I think Suozzi is looking at the timetables and realizing that he's stuck as Nassau exec for a long time. But he'd have to beat Spitzer in order to leapfrog otherwise ordained timetables, and I just can't see that happening.

You're right - Suozzi would become a hero if he took on Peter King, almost regardless of the outcome. If I were Spitzer, I'd consider offering him a backroom deal: Run against Peter King. Win or lose, if Hillary leaves her seat early, I'll appoint you as her replacement.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2006 04:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I was a supporter of Elliot Spitzer untill he recently called for re-instating the Death Penalty in New York for terrorists. I just thought this was craven. Any terrorist suspect would be prosecuted under Federal Law and this could open the door to a wider death penalty bill. (The NYS Court of Appeals struck down the Death Penalty two years ago). Given that the overwhealming majority of Democrats in New York oppose Capital Punishment (and a majority of all New Yorkers prefer life without parole), I found Spitzers position to be a slap in the face to the liberal activists he expects to make the phone calls and knock on doors for him. It reminds me of Hillary Clintons support for the war.

Tom Suozzi opposes the Death Penalty, and as much as a primary might not be in the interest of the party bosses, I am relieved as a Democrat that I will be able to express my disgust with Spitzers position during the primary.

Of course, I will support the nominee, be it Spitzer or Suozzi and I think either one will defeat whomever the Republicans put up.

Posted by: MichaelNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 13, 2006 12:32 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Michael: Just bear in mind that if you support Suozzi, you're supporting a guy who is heavily backed by Republicans.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 13, 2006 01:07 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Honestly, I'm undecided. I would encourage everyone to write to Spitzer at spitzer@spitzer2006.com to urge him to back off his call for the death penalty. It is not an issue he needs to win in New York, the Assembly has looked at it last year and found the risk of executing innocent people too high, and New Jersey just declared a moritorium. Spitzer is behind the times on this issue and he needs to hear from Democratic activists.

Posted by: MichaelNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 14, 2006 01:07 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

First I would say not everyone on Wall Street are Republicans. It seems like most of Suozzi's Wall Street support and execs (such as Home Depot co-founder) are more along the lines of Indepedents. No question there are Republicans who want Suozzi to run & even a GOP endorsment has been rumored (thouh I feel thats a bunch of BS). Suozzi won re-election in a landslide despite all the very harsh & out right lies from the GOP.

I personally really like both Spitzer & Suozzi, and may lean SPitzer in a Primary at this point. Being a resident of Nassau COunty and seing the amazing accomplishments Suozzi has made in the four years here as County Executive, from the disasterous way the GOP left it I have alot of admiration for him & think he would be a Great Govenor. Though I think much the same on Spitzer.

Part of Suozzi's problem is aarogance & ego. He might view a Congressional race a downgrade from his position now. Being a reprsentive of approx 650,000 people or a County Executive of about 1.35 million (Nassau's population). Also he may feel he could beat Suozzi in part because of what he accomplished in 2001. Thomas DiNapoli was the Party's pick for County Executive, he had the backing of all the local & state Democrats, but then Suozzi the Glen Cove mayor joined in with a exciting, very well managed & brilliant campaign & knocked off Dinapoli in a huge upset in the Primary & went on to a landslide victory in the General. Apples to Oranges a bit there, but that maybe a part of Suozzi's thinking.

I do feel he should run against King. He runs for the seat, he wins period. Unfortunley it doesn't look like he will, though Dave Mejias (county Legis close Suozzi ally) seems likely to take on King & is a very strong candidate himself (though not nearly as strong as Suozzi would be)

Posted by: Smash255 [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 15, 2006 09:15 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

BTW, Spitzer has long been a death penalty supporter.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 15, 2006 09:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment