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Rep. Tom Suozzi picks Diana Reyna as running mate in campaign for NY governor

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Suozzi campaign
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Tom Suozzi and Diana Reyna at a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022

Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat from Long Island running for governor, named former New York City Council Member Diana Reyna as his choice for lieutenant governor Wednesday, finalizing his preferred ticket heading into the June primary election.

Reyna would be the first Latinx person to be elected to statewide office if she’s successful in the campaign, which comes with a caveat.

In New York, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately ahead of the primary. Whichever candidates win that contest then pair up for the general election, regardless of who they’d like as their running mate.

That means that, for now, Reyna will have to convince Democrats to choose her over current Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, for the November ticket.

Reyna said Wednesday that she’s all-in for Suozzi to be the party’s nominee for governor, citing his attention to the state’s rise in crime and high cost of living since the start of his campaign nearly three months ago.

“When I heard he was running for governor, I wanted in,” Reyna said. “I wanted to be part of that campaign — to shake things up and get something done in Albany.”

Reyna was previously named by New York City Mayor Eric Adams as his deputy when he was the borough president in Brooklyn, and previously served on the New York City Council for 12 years. She’s a native of Brooklyn.

The next challenge for Suozzi and Reyna will be to get on the ticket for this year’s primary election in June.

Democrats are scheduled to gather in New York City Thursday to formally designate their nominees for governor and lieutenant governor, along with other statewide offices.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is anticipated to comfortably win that vote, becoming the party’s designated nominee. Suozzi and Reyna could make it on the ticket as well if they garner 25% of the vote at the convention.

If that doesn’t happen, the pair will have to petition their way onto the ballot.

“We’re prepared to get petitions, and get on the ballot,” Suozzi said Wednesday.

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is also running for the party’s nomination for governor. The primary is scheduled in New York for June 28.

Dan Clark is the host and producer of New York NOW, a weekly television show focusing on state government produced by WMHT in Albany. Clark has been reporting on New York state government and politics for the last six years, during which time he's worked out of the state Capitol in Albany. Clark reported for the national political fact-checking publication PolitiFact, the Buffalo News, the statewide political television show Capital Tonight, and most recently the New York Law Journal. At the New York Law Journal, Clark has focused on state legal challenges to President Donald Trump, as well as litigation concerning laws enacted by the New York State Legislature. Clark covered the Legislature in each role he's held and is a familiar face to state lawmakers and staff. Clark is a native of Afton, NY in Chenango County. He's lived in Albany with his husband since 2011.