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Tom Suozzi appears to be Democrats' choice in special election for George Santos' congressional seat

Tom Suozzi appears to be Democrats' choice in special election for George Santos' House seat
Tom Suozzi appears to be Democrats' choice in special election for George Santos' House seat 02:20

MINEOLA, N.Y. -- Tom Suozzi, the man who previously held George Santos' congressional seat, wants his old job back.

Suozzi on Wednesday met with Gov. Kathy Hochul, who he tried to unseat in last year's gubernatorial race, because he needed her endorsement to run in the special election.

Voters learned they have 70 more days without a representative and they are wondering who will replace the expelled Santos. The governor set the special election for just prior to the Presidents Day holiday.

"Our responsibility is to take back the House of Representatives from the Santos-type Republican Party," Hochul said.

But would the governor agree to select Suozzi, who ran against her in the primary and deployed aggressive personal tactics?

"Well, he apologized for those characterizations," Hochul said.

Suozzi was summoned to Albany before receiving the hand-picked endorsement.

"That was an important conversation to clear the air in one respect, so it was his interest to make sure the conversation went well," Hochul said.

Candidate Suozzi, CBS New York was told, assured the governor he would be in lockstep with the Democratic Party on all issues, including abortion and migration.

"She extracted certain promises from him, which I think is a bit embarrassing, and if he has to cow tow to the governor that way in order to get the nod, what's he going to do to President Biden?" Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Cairo said.

READ MOREFormer top staffer of ex-congressman George Santos: "You are a product of your own making"

Cairo will announce the Republican choice for the special election early next week. The Democrats are expected to make public Suozzi's selection  Thursday.

"Executive committee members here in Nassau County are a part of that district, I will take their advice and the decision comes down to Greg Meeks in Queens and myself to make that determination," New York State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs said.

So, could Suozzi be the front-runner now?

"He is a trusted name. I know him as far as his record. I think he'd be an excellent choice," one voter said.

"I want to study it a little further. There are some good people available. Obviously, the sooner we fill the seat, the better," another voter said.

The winner will serve out the remainder of Santos' two-year term and would need to run again next November for a full term.

Both parties maintain they conducted comprehensive vetting this time around of all candidates under consideration.

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