By Patrick Donachie
Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi bested state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) in the race to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Melville) in representing parts of Queens and Long Island in Congress.
Suozzi won about 48.4 percent of the total vote, with all 630 precincts reporting, according to unofficial vote totals from the New York State Board of Elections, while Martins had about 44 percent. The BOE reported Suozzi with 156,315 votes out of 322,608 total votes. There are 505,342 registered voters in the district. Martins released a statement congratulating Suozzi and acknowledging the defeat.
“The results are in and unfortunately we’ve come up short,” he said. “While the outcome was not what we hoped and the race is over, it does not mean we will stop fighting for the ideals on which we ran. Throughout this campaign, I’ve heard the frustration from people across Nassau, Suffolk and Queens about the direction our country is headed. They are tired of politics as usual in Washington. They want to put the country back on the right track and they want results over partisan politics.”
Suozzi scheduled a news conference later Wednesday morning.
New York’s 3rd Congressional District includes parts of Suffolk and Nassau County in Long Island, as well as parts of Bay Terrace, Whitestone, Glen Oaks and Floral Park.
Israel announced he would retire earlier this year and the Democrats needed to hold the seat in their long-shot bid to retake control of the House of Representatives, which failed.
Suozzi, who was also the mayor of Glen Cove from 1993 to 2001 and unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006, faced four opponents in a Democratic primary earlier this year. Martins ran unopposed, though he faced a legal challenge from fraud investigator Philip ‘Flip’ Pidot, who asserted that he had gathered enough signatures to qualify to run against Martins in a primary. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Pidot.
Martins served for eight years as the mayor of Mineola before his election as state senator in 2013, where he represents much of northwestern Long Island.
A Newsday/Sienna College poll taken in October showed Suozzi with a 16-point lead, but a Nov. 5 poll by Sienna College found that the race had tightened to seven points, with more Republicans backing Martins in the closing weeks of the race, along with stronger support among independents.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona