Lisa Tyson, director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, said it was not time for bipartisanship. “There is no middle ground between Republicans and Democrats anymore,” she said. “This is about fighting for justice and fighting for food.”
Other prominent party figures have shaken together the tone that Mr Suozzi has used to attack the state’s first female leader, whom he often refers to as an unqualified “interim governor.”
“What he seems to be saying is, ‘I should be governor because I can do better,'” said Jay Jacobs, chairman of the State Democratic Party. “The underlying implication is that he’s a man and she’s a woman. That’s not where this party is going.
Mr. Suozzi said that Mr. Jacobs, who chaired his campaign in 2006, was “absolutely wrong.” He also defended his approach to Ms. Hochul: “Kathy Hochul has not been elected governor of the state of New York, and she will serve from now until the end of Andrew Cuomo’s term,” he said. “The definition of it is temporary.”
A spokesman for the governor declined to comment.
Mr. Suozzi inspires fierce loyalty among his followers, who say he can be a creative and at times pioneering leader.
“Tom is a doer. Tom is an administrator. Tom knows what the city needs right now: security and economic opportunities for all groups of people,” said Anthony Scaramucci, who said Mr. Suozzi’s father gave him a job as a young man. Assistant Attorney General years before briefly serving as Mr. Trump’s White House Director of Communications.
Mr. Scaramucci and his wife each contributed $ 22,600 to the campaign.
Mr. Suozzi readily acknowledges that the secure political path would keep him on the road to re-election to a seat in the House.
“I could stay in Congress for the rest of my life if I wanted to and continue to be re-elected, I think,” he said. “But I give it up because I feel so strongly that people are suffering in my condition and something dramatic needs to be done – and because I feel like my party has gone astray.”