There’s a pattern particular to the New York press’s handline of politicians from the suburbs, played out twice last year. First, there’s the wave of pieces trumping their viability, bringing them from the fringes of New Yorkers’ consciousness to the center. (I did a piece like that on Jeanine Pirro. Here’s New York Magazine’s “titan” piece on Tom Suozzi.)
That piece has to presume that the candidate is something of a star. Why else write it?
Then there’s the moment when the politician actually enters the New York media sharkpit. Jeanine, obviously, didn’t fare so well. Republicans like George Pataki don’t really need urban votes, but Democrats do, and so Tom’s already been spending quite a bit of time here and will stay on the radar. And there’s a lot about Suozzi that hasn’t made it into the glowing profiles. In particular, his administration has had some legal and ethical problems, with one Deputy County Executive (the equivalent of Deputy Mayor) indicted and another who resigned and still faces a possible indictment, both accused one way or the other of misusing public funds.
Meanwhile, last week, Suozzi somehow seems to have lost control of the Nassau County Legislature, with two legislators defecting to the GOP side. The story made it into the Times today.
Anyway, the wave of Suozzi introduction stories isn’t over yet. The Times has yet to do a big profile in its city edition. But at some point, the other shoe has to drop, and that may be the first real test of Suozzi’s statewide viability.
(On the other hand, Suozzi brings a real media asset to the table. Newsday has been his consistent champion. Its editorial page editor at one point got into a bit of trouble for apparently acting as a Suozzi political operative. And while the paper has had troubles lately in the city, it has the third biggest (corrected!) New York State circulation of any daily.)