WOODBURY - Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi says he is interested in running for Rep. Steve Israel's congressional seat.
Suozzi is forming a committee to explore a possible run for Congress after Rep. Israel's recent announcement that he would not seek re-election.
"After six years in the private sector and a little bit of humbling and a lot of hindsight, I think I'm a little wiser now, a little bit less brash and a lot more patient," says Suozzi.
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About a dozen names have been kicked around as possible candidates. Insiders say the leading Democrats include Suozzi, Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern, North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna Kaplan and Sands Point philanthropist Lori Scheinman.
On the Republican side, possible candidates include state Sen. Jack Martins, state Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci of Huntington, Suffolk Legislator Rob Trotta and David Gurfein, a retired Marine from Manhasset.
Hofstra University political analyst Larry Levy says it's no surprise the race has drawn a lot of interest.
"The lure of this seat for a Democrat is that the district was drawn for a Democrat and 2016 should be, at least in this area, a strong Democratic year. The lure for a Republican is that Republicans have run well in these areas," says Levy.
Democratic Party leaders are scheduled to screen potential candidates Wednesday.
The 3rd Congressional District runs along the North Shore from as far west as Douglaston, Queens all the way to Kings Park. Rep. Israel has held the seat for the past 15 years.