Suozzi declares victory in primary race, saying he received nearly 70% of vote

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U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), right, has declared victory in the Third Congressional District's Democratic primary, while Melanie D'Arrigo of Port Washington has not yet conceded the race. (Photos courtesy of the candidates)

Despite no confirmation from the New York State Board of Elections, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) declared victory in the Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional District on Friday.

The vote tally for the part of the district in Nassau County showed Suozzi far ahead, according to county figures. And his campaign said he had received nearly 70 percent of the vote in the entire district.

Port Washington’s Melanie D’Arrigo, the remaining competitor for the seat, has not yet conceded the race.

The district includes Manhasset, Roslyn, Port Washington, Great Neck and Floral Park, among other areas, and stretches from Whitestone, Queens, to Kings Park in Suffolk County.

Michael Weinstock of Great Neck had been in the running for the seat as well, but conceded to and endorsed Suozzi the day after the June 23 primary.

“I am overwhelmed by the support I received in this record-high turnout primary,” Suozzi said in a statement. “With coronavirus, it was challenging to vote, but people came out in droves. I am honored that nearly 70 percent of Democrats said they want me to keep fighting for them. There is so much work to do.”

The Suozzi campaign said that the incumbent congressman received 67 percent of the 54,000 votes cast across Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties. D’Arrigo received 25.7 percent and Weinstock 7.5 percent, the campaign added.

According to the campaign, those figures were provided by the three counties’ election boards in phone calls.

Of the 27,075 ballots cast in the Nassau County portion of the 3rd District, Suozzi received 18,418, or 68.03 percent, according to county figures. D’Arrigo received 6,663, or 24.61 percent, and Weinstock received 1,961, or 7.24 percent.  A total of 33 write-in votes were cast.

Those totals include in-person and absentee ballots, according to the Nassau County Board of Elections.

In June, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the deadline to submit absentee ballots for the congressional primary races until the day of the election on June 23. To be counted, the absentee ballots for the primary had to be postmarked by June 23, state officials said.

While outlets like Politico have named Suozzi the victor in the race, New York State’s Board of Elections has yet to post final vote tallies due to issues in counting absentee votes, though the percentages have remained similar in the past three weeks.

The board has not yet offered an explanation of why the results have been delayed, and efforts to reach the board for comment were unavailing.

If recognized as the winner by the state, Suozzi will face off against Republican nominee George Santos of Queens, who was unopposed in his primary, in November.

D’Arrigo has not yet commented on the results on social media, and efforts to reach her campaign, while acknowledged, did not get a response. Efforts to reach the Santos campaign for comment were unavailing.

In a New York Times article posted on Friday, John Conklin, spokesman for the state’s Board of Elections, said the “astronomically high number of absentee ballots” overwhelmed a system that was not designed to handle that many. 

“The system is built to process 3 to 5 percent of the election in absentee ballots, not 40 to 60 percent of the election,” Conklin told The Times. “You will see a similar extended counting period [in November] if we see an equally high number of absentee ballots.”

Conklin told The Times that additional resources such as overtime and hiring pay would be necessary to avoid delays in coming elections.

In the 4th Congressional District, Republican candidate Douglas Tuman remains in the lead in the party primary to challenge Democratic incumbent Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) in November’s general election.

According to county figures, Tuman received 10,898, or 70.65 percent, of the votes, while his opponent Cindy Grosz received 4,292, or 27.82 votes. A total of 236 write-in votes were also submitted, according to the figures.

The district is situated in central and southern Nassau County, including Floral Park, Garden City, Hempstead, Mineola, Carle Place, New Hyde Park and Westbury.

Tuman has not declared victory on any social media platform, nor has Grosz conceded.

Efforts to reach both candidates for comment were unavailing.

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