Lisa Tyson, the director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, said it’s not the time for bipartisanship. “There’s no middle ground between Republicans and Democrats anymore,” she said. “This is about fighting for justice and fighting for food.”
Other prominent party figures have wonced at the tone Mr. Suozzi has used to attack the state’s first female leader, whom he often refers to as an unqualified “interim governor.”
“What he seems to be saying is, ‘I should be governor because I can do it better,'” said Jay Jacobs, the state Democratic Party chairman. “The underlying implication is that he is a male and she is a female. That’s not where this party should be going.”
Mr. Suozzi said Mr. Jacobs, who chaired his 2006 campaign, was “absolutely wrong.” He also defended his approach to Ms. Hochul: “Kathy Hochul has not been governor of New York State, and she is serving from now until the end of Andrew Cuomo’s term,” he said. “The definition of that is interim.”
A spokesman for the governor declined to comment.
Mr. Suozzi does inspire fierce loyalty among his supporters, who say he can be a creative and, at times, groundbreaking leader.
“Tom is a doer. Tom is an administrator. Tom knows what the city needs right now: safety and economic opportunity for all groups of people,” said Anthony Scaramucci, who said Mr. Suozzi’s father gave him a job as a young paralegal years before he briefly served as Mr. Trump’s White House communications director.
Mr. Scaramucci and his wife each contributed $22,600 to the campaign.
Mr. Suozzi readily acknowledges that the safe political road would keep him on a path to re-election for a House seat.
“I could stay in Congress the rest of my life if I wanted to and keep on getting re-elected, I believe,” he said. “But I’m giving it up because I feel so strongly that people are suffering in my state and something dramatic has to be done — and because I feel that my party has lost its way.”