By Jano Tantongco
Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi won Tuesday’s Democratic primary, edging out four other candidates hoping to replace Rep. Steve Israel in the 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of the Huntington township.
Suozzi will face State Senator Jack Martins (R-Mineola) in November.
In a statement emailed Wednesday, Suozzi said he looks forward to meeting with voters to “come up with solid solutions” to issues facing constituents in the district, which cuts along the north shore of Long Island from northeast Queens through North Hempstead and Oyster Bay, and east to Huntington and Smithtown.
"I am so grateful and appreciative to the voters of the 3rd Congressional District for supporting me in the Democratic primary,” Suozzi said. “It is clear the people in the district are looking for someone who has the ability to cut through the blame-game, finger-pointing and yelling that's coming out of Washington these days.”
Suozzi emerged from a field that consisted of candidates including Suffolk Legislator Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills). After the polls closed, Stern supporters converged at IMC restaurant in Huntington village to watch the results come in.
It was coming up on 11 p.m. when Stern entered the restaurant. Impeccably tailored and flashing his broad trademark smile, he delivered the talk supporters had been hoping they wouldn’t have to hear.
“It was a tough race, a tight race with a lot of candidates who had their areas of strength, as we did,” Stern said, referencing his strong showing among Suffolk voters.
Unofficial board of elections results show Stern with a near-1,000 point lead over Suozzi in Suffolk - nearly 55 percent of the county total. Stern’s 2,540 votes and Suozzi’s 1,044 accounted for more than three quarters of the Suffolk ballots cast.
But the Suffolk margin wasn’t enough to carry Stern past Suozzi’s plurality in Nassau where unofficial board of elections results show the former county executive took 3,977 votes to Stern’s 1,206.
In Queens, Suozzi had the edge with 1,511 votes, to Stern’s 323, according to NYC board of elections.
Stern thanked a long list of supporters and campaign workers, also acknowledging the help his campaign received from Steve Israel, whose announcement earlier this year that he would not seek a ninth term, sparked the crowded primary.
And he pledged his own support to the winner.
“I feel very strongly this seat needs to remain a Democratic seat,” he said.
Earlier in the afternoon, 56-year-old Rocco Aloe, of Huntington village, cast his vote at Huntington Town Hall. He didn’t disclose his vote, but said he supports the candidate who will make mental health issues and drug abuse problems their top issues.
“What do I look for in a candidate? Someone who’s credible… someone who’s going to be able to fight for the rights of the people,” said Aloe, a delivery driver for a small company.
Laurie Everitt, 65, also of Huntington village, said she found herself to be the lone voter in the polling room when she cast her say. She said there was an especially-low turnout that day.
“When I pulled up, I couldn’t tell it was Election Day,” she said. “I almost didn’t come, but I said to myself... I may end up being mad.”
Peter Sloggatt contributed to this report.