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N.Y.: A Primary Challenge for Spitzer?

Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi (D) is in Washington, D.C., fresh off a convincing reelection victory Tuesday and with talk growing that he will jump into the Democratic gubernatorial primary against state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Suozzi was in town to receive an award last night from Governing magazine. This morning he appeared at a County Executives of America breakfast event at Charlie Palmer's Steakhouse on Capitol Hill. Much of the chatter at the breakfast concerned a possible Suozzi statewide run, although the candidate did not directly address the rumors.

Suozzi has led a Democratic resurgence on Long Island that began with his 2001 win, which made him the first Democratic to hold the top Nassau post in four decades. On Tuesday, Democrats made significant gains again, highlighted by the defeat of eight-term Nassau County district attorney Denis Dillon (R) at the hands of Kathleen Rice (D).

Even at his victory speech, Suozzi could not escape questions about running for governor. "Right now, the good people of Nassau County are happy with me, and I'm happy with them," was all Suozzi would offer.

Should he run against Spitzer, Suozzi would be a major underdog. Spitzer had more than $12 million in his gubernatorial account as of July --  and an adviser told Newsday that Spitzer would be at $17 million by January. The same Newsday story said that Suozzi is likely to show one-third that amount in the bank when the books close on his reelection race.

Spitzer is as strong a favorite as there is in a 2006 governor's race.  A Quinnipac poll conducted in late September and early October showed Spitzer with massive leads over any of the four Republicans seeking the nomination. Gov. George Pataki (R) decided against seeking a fourth term in late July.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 10, 2005; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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