Rep. Tom Suozzi, trailing by a wide margin in polls for the New York gubernatorial primaries in June, launched a new ad Friday promising to remove Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg from office if elected.
Bragg has suddenly become a hot-button issue in the election, given a memo he issued earlier this month instructing prosecutors not to charge some crimes and to downgrade charges for others. He has framed his strategy as one centered on equity, but opponents claim he's letting criminals off the hook.
Rep. Lee Zeldin, the frontrunner for the GOP nomination for governor, has already said he'd use the governor's power to remove district attorneys in order to get rid of Bragg. But with his new ad Suozzi becomes the most prominent Democrat yet to threaten the same.
"The Manhattan DA is actually proposing to downgrade armed robbery to a misdemeanor, and to stop prosecuting resisting arrest. That makes no sense," Suozzi says in the ad, later adding "if any DA refuses to enforce the law, I'll remove them."
Suozzi has campaigned on allegations that Gov. Kathy Hochul hasn't been tough enough on crime, a message that so far isn't resonating with voters. A Siena College poll released this week had Hochul some 40 points ahead of the former Nassau County executive, who is making his second run at governor after a 60-point loss in the 2006 primary.
Bragg's office deflected Suozzi's calls for his ouster.
“With a twenty-year record as a prosecutor, DA Alvin Bragg was elected overwhelmingly by the people of Manhattan. Three weeks into his term, he is doing the work prosecuting people who break the law and holding them accountable and welcomes anyone who wants to partner in the urgent tasks of getting drivers of crime off our streets, cutting off the flow of illegal guns to our city, and building up community-based supports for people who are struggling," Richard Fife, a senior advisor to Bragg, said in a statement.