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Tom Suozzi had a winning strategy in CD3

By: 
The Editorial Board
Publication: 
Newsday
Jun
29
2016

Tom Suozzi had a winning strategy in CD3
Tom Suozzi’s win of the Democratic nomination in the 3rd Congressional District isn’t surprising, but it wasn’t a sure thing.

His two main competitors, Suffolk Legis. Steve Stern of Huntington and former North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, ran unexpectedly lackluster campaigns while Suozzi executed a disciplined strategy: running up the vote totals in Queens to minimize Stern’s advantage in Suffolk.

There were about 186,000 eligible voters, but a paltry 18,487 votes were cast, a circumstance that favored candidates with high name recognition.

According to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections, Suozzi got 6,532 votes, Stern received 4,069 votes, Kaiman won 4,060 votes, Anna Kaplan got 2,815 votes and Jonathan Clark received 909 votes. Here’s a map of Suozzi’s support:
Tom Suozzi vote totals

None of the candidates raised the $1 million that party leaders told them would be needed, but it especially hurt Stern, who needed to introduce himself to Nassau County, where 51 percent of voters in the district live. Stern was the first to run TV ads, but ran out of money and couldn’t continue airing them.

He also never responded to Suozzi’s attack mailing that said Stern was weak on environmental issues because of his two votes to “raid” the Suffolk County open space fund. Stern needed about 40 percent of the Suffolk vote to be in contention, but he only got 33 percent.

That Suffolk Democratic chair Rich Schaffer was distracted by his fight with County Executive Steve Bellone didn’t help Stern either.

Kaiman, who did very well in his home territory on the Great Neck peninsula, was not able to hold down the Suozzi vote total in the rest of the Nassau, especially in Suozzi’s base of Glen Cove.

Spending heavily on TV and mailings, Anna Kaplan, a North Hempstead Town Board member, might have hurt Kaiman in their hometown, but didn’t make a dent in Oyster Bay.

In the end, however, it was 1,511 voters in Queens, a cornerstone of his strategy, that ensured Suozzi’s wide margin. Borough President Melinda Katz — and we wonder whether the unseen hand of county Democratic chair Joe Crowley played a role — worked hard for Suozzi, who spent a lot of time courting endorsements and working voter-rich apartment complexes. Click here to see how much money each candidate spent per vote.

— Rita Ciolli