NRCC Scouting For 2014 Challengers To Maffei: Mahoney, Antonacci, Buerkle (Updated)
GOP memo to Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei: Don’t get too comfortable.
National Republicans are looking to get an early start in their quest to re-take NY-24 from Maffei after he toppled former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle last fall.
A Central New York source says NRCC Chairman Greg Walden, of Oregon, made a trip to the area this weekend and met with several potential candidates – including Buerkle herself, who is maintaining her D.C. ties and hasn’t yet ruled out a re-match (this would be the third time she faces off against Maffei) in 2014.
According to this source, Walden also chatted with two others: Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci, who made a brief and unsuccessful attempt at landing the GOP nod for statewide office – first comptroller, and then attorney general – back in 2010; and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.
Walden was spotted at private reception for high-dollar donors that preceded Mahoney’s 2013 gala reception at the Oncenter Ballroom Saturday night.
The idea of a Mahoney candidacy is intriguing on a number of levels, not the least of which is the pickle in which that might put Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Mahoney, as you’ll recall, enraged her fellow CNY Republicans when she crossed party lines to endorse Cuomo for governor in 2010.
Since then, she has co-chaired his transtition committee, become a NYPA trustee and been a staunch advocate for a number of his policies, including his controversial pension smoothing proposal that has caused so much friction between Cuomo and his hand-picked state Democratic Party co-chair, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.
Cuomo endorsed Maffei’s successful re-match against Buerkle last year, but it would put him in an awkward position if Maffei was pitted against Mahoney.
Another full endorsement of a Republican would not sit well with the left at a time when Cuomo will be seeking re-election himself. (Remember how well that – failed – endorsement of former Republican Sen. Steve Saland played with the liberal base?)
The 2014 races are a long way off, but President Obama is reportedly already looking ahead to the next round of mid-terms to in hopes of helping the Democrats re-take control of the House to help cement his legacy.
Mahoney’s chief of staff Ben Dublin confirmed that the county executive did indeed meet with Walden to discuss 2014 this weekend. Asked if she might be interested in running, Dublin replied:
“It’s very flattering to have her name mentioned, but right now, she’s focused on being county executive. Thar race is a long way off.”
Which, by the way, is not “no.”
UPDATE: NRCC spokesman Ian Prior emailed:
“The NRCC is absolutely looking to flip NY-24 in 2014. We view Maffei as a weak candidate with a misguided party-line mentality and a record of questionable decision making while in office (e.g, handing out midnight bonuses on his way out the door).”
“In a mid-term election without Maffei hanging for his political life on the coattails of the President, we are confident that, with the right Republican candidate, Maffei will suffer the same fate as he did in 2010 – defeat.”
“While I cannot confirm specific individuals with whom he met, I can confirm that Chairman Walden was in the Syracuse area meeting with several potential candidates to gauge interest in running for a very winnable seat.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on March 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm, and is filed under 2014, Congress, NY-24, Republicans, Uncategorized, Upstate NY. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|