NASSAU COUNTY, Long Island (WABC) -- The Democratic Party is nominating Tom Suozzi to run for the third Congressional seat in New York that is now vacated after the historic expulsion of disgraced ex-Rep. George Santos.
In an exclusive interview last month, Suozzi, who held Santos' seat before stepping away to run for governor, said he wants to take back the Nassau County-Queens district in the special election.
"It's not going to be easy, I'm going to run on the things that I've accomplished for the people of my district in the past and the things that I want to do in the future to address the concerns that they have," Suozzi said.
Suozzi previously held the Congressional seat for six years.
"Tom Suozzi has a proven record of fighting for his constituents, fighting to safeguard our suburban way of life here on Long Island and Queens and always advocating for sensible solutions to the real challenges affecting everyday average Americans," a statement from Nassau County and New York State Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs and Queens County Democratic Chair Rep. Gregory Meeks said.
The statement went on to say they look forward to working together to "restore integrity, competence, and a focus on the real needs of our larger community in the Third Congressional District."
The party endorsement comes after the former Nassau County executive and Glen Cove mayor met privately Monday with Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Hochul, a previous rival, defeated Suozzi in last year's gubernatorial primary.
"I was looking for someone that I thought could win, but also that was an important conversation to clear the air in one respect," Hochul said. "So it was in his interest to make sure that conversation went well."
Hochul says Suozzi apologized for criticizing her family ethics during last year's campaign.
The special election is a high-stakes contest because Republicans hold a narrow eight-seat margin in the U.S. House.
Republicans are interviewing more than 25 candidates, mostly from Long Island, but one or two are from Queens.
Nassau County GOP Chairman Joe Cairo, who has since apologized for the party endorsing George Santos, says he will thoroughly vet all candidates.
"Very very important, that's why we're going to do a very thorough job, not only where there are questions asked, very probing questions at the interview process by the committee, but now we are engaging today private companies to do a thorough background check, Cairo said.
Cairo says the Nassau Republican party expects to make an endorsement either Friday or early next week.
Hochul has called for the special election to happen on Feb. 13.