Melanie D’Arrigo is a Democratic politician who ran unsuccessfully for New York’s 3rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in both 2020 and 2022. Though she lost in the Democratic primaries both times, her spirited campaigns gained attention for their progressive stances and grassroots mobilization.
Background and Early Life
D’Arrigo was born in Lindenhurst, New York and went on to earn a B.A. from Barnard College in 2003. She later obtained an M.S. from Long Island University in 2012. Prior to running for office, she worked as a teacher.
D’Arrigo’s Campaigns for Congress
In 2020, D’Arrigo launched her first campaign for the 3rd Congressional District seat, which was held at the time by Democrat Tom Suozzi.
In the June 2020 Democratic primary, D’Arrigo presented herself as a more progressive alternative to the moderate incumbent Suozzi. However, Suozzi prevailed with 66% of the vote compared to 26% for D’Arrigo.
Despite losing the primary, D’Arrigo stayed in the race as the nominee of the Working Families Party. But Suozzi went on to defeat Republican challenger George DeVolder-Santos in the general election.
In 2022, D’Arrigo made another run at the seat, which was open after Suozzi opted to run for governor instead.
Facing a crowded field in the August 2022 primary, D’Arrigo once again ran as the progressive choice but finished third with 16% behind the more moderate Robert Zimmerman.
Zimmerman became the Democratic nominee but lost the general election to DeVolder-Santos, who had secured the Republican nomination. So despite her spirited campaigns, D’Arrigo was unable to advance past the primaries.
Key Platforms and Priorities
Throughout her campaigns, D’Arrigo emphasized core progressive policies like defending abortion rights, addressing climate change, reducing income inequality, and enacting stricter gun regulations. She worked to mobilize grassroots support, attracting backing from groups like the Working Families Party.
She listed her three main campaign messages as creating an economy that works for everyone, fighting corruption in politics, and protecting the environment.
D’Arrigo named health care, education, and the environment as her top policy passions.
Views on Governing
In the survey, D’Arrigo emphasized honesty, integrity, and putting constituents first as crucial qualities for elected officials. She expressed support for term limits for members of Congress.
In addition to the Working Families Party, D’Arrigo’s campaigns won endorsements from groups like Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Sierra Club. She also gained support from prominent progressive leaders like Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Summary of D’Arrigo’s Campaigns
Though she came up short in back-to-back primaries, Melanie D’Arrigo left her mark through her unapologetic progressive stances and grassroots mobilization. She gave voice to policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal at a time when some Democrats shied away from them. And she came closer than expected in 2022, even as the party establishment consolidated around a more moderate nominee.
What’s Next for Her
It remains unclear if D’Arrigo will wage another Congressional run in the future. Regardless, she helped push the policy debate leftward in a closely-watched swing district. And she gained valuable campaign experience that could aid future progressive candidates, whether or not she runs again herself. Her energetic presence ensured that the left wing was heard in these hard-fought races.
How many times did D’Arrigo run for Congress?
D’Arrigo ran for New York’s 3rd Congressional District seat twice, in 2020 and 2022. She lost in the Democratic primaries both times.
What were some of D’Arrigo’s key policy positions?
D’Arrigo campaigned on progressive priorities like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, robust gun control, and defending abortion rights.
What groups endorsed D’Arrigo’s campaigns?
She won endorsements from the Working Families Party, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Sierra Club, among others.
Who defeated D’Arrigo in the 2020 Democratic primary?
In 2020, D’Arrigo lost the primary to the incumbent Congressman Tom Suozzi, who beat her 66% to 26%.
Who won the 2022 general election in D’Arrigo’s district?
Republican George DeVolder-Santos ultimately won the seat in 2022 after D’Arrigo lost in the primary.