Representative Thomas Suozzi, a Long Island Democrat, intends to announce on Monday that he will enter the race for governor of New York, broadening the field of candidates challenging the incumbent, Kathy Hochul, according to five people who have spoken with the congressman and his team in recent days.
Mr. Suozzi, who has most recently focused on federal negotiations over raising a cap on state and local tax deductions, has positioned himself as a vocal centrist who is quick to lash what he casts as the excesses of his party’s left wing.
His decision to run for governor, which he is expected to announce at an 11 a.m. news conference, will intensify and complicate the battle for moderate voters in one of the nation’s marquee Democratic primary contests next year.
Mr. Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive, could cut into parts of the coalition Ms. Hochul is seeking to assemble on Long Island and in suburbs around the state. And in a crowded field, the race increasingly appears to be fluid and unpredictable.
Mr. Suozzi, a strong fund-raiser, nevertheless would face steep challenges in a statewide Democratic primary.
While early polling has limited value ahead of a primary slated for next June, he was in the single digits in a recent survey. Ms. Hochul, the state’s first female governor who has consistently led the field in early polls, has an overwhelming head start in fund-raising and endorsements.
Other candidates in the race also have the kind of history-making potential that Mr. Suozzi, a white man, does not — most notably Attorney General Letitia James, who could be the first Black female governor in the country should she win.
“I’ll comment at 11 o’clock,” Mr. Suozzi said, reached by phone.
The five people with knowledge of his intentions asked for anonymity to discuss the private deliberations. But on Monday morning, his congressional campaign website was automatically redirecting visitors to a password-protected page for an unspecified statewide campaign, suozziforny.com.
Democrats are expected to face a brutally challenging environment in next year’s midterm elections.
Mr. Suozzi’s candidacy for governor could put at risk Democrats’ hold on his largely suburban House seat at a time when they are battling nationally to retain control of the chamber.
Without a popular incumbent there to defend it, Republicans would likely make the seat a top pickup target in New York. Democrats could find themselves spending large sums to defend the seat or be forced to shore up their claim to it during the once-in-a-decade redistricting process. Diverting more Democratic voters to the district could in turn complicate the party’s efforts to use the process to seize one or two more House seats on Long Island.
A Guide to the New York Governor’s Race
Mr. Suozzi began discussing whether to run with allies at least as far back as this summer, after Ms. James’s office released a damning report detailing accusations of sexual harassment by then-Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, according to people involved in the talks.
But he has long been interested in the job.
He ran for governor in 2006, and was trounced in the Democratic primary by Eliot Spitzer, who would later resign from the governorship in disgrace. In that race, Mr. Suozzi ran on a message of managerial competence, a theme he is likely to reprise, this time by citing his federal experience — his campaign slogan in other races has been: “Suozzi gets it done.”
He will be challenged on that pitch by several others in the race, most notably by Ms. Hochul and Ms. James, the two candidates who currently hold statewide office.