Mar 3rd - 1:33 pm
Conservative and Republican leaders in NY-24 have united behind former US Attorney John Katko to face off against Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei this fall.
Katko emerged from a field of seven (it was eight, but Jane Rossi, a Rome businesswoman and the ex-wife of Oneida Indian Nation leader Ray Halbritter, withdrew at the last minute) Republicans who interviewed with party leaders Saturday at the Palace Theater in Syracse. He left his job to run for office, and cited his experience fighting crime – especially gang members – as apt preparation for the campaign trail and D.C. politics.
Today, the Conservative leaders in NY-24, which includes committees from Onondaga, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego counties, issued a statement in support of Katko, although they stressed that he had prevailed over several candidates who all had “excellent qualifications.”
“Mr. Katko aligns with our Conservative principles philosophically and understands the significance of this election,” said Onondaga County Conservative Chairman Chuck Mancabelli. “Mr. Katko has a strong command of the issues and more importantly, an ability to connect with the voters during the campaign. This is a key element for any candidate to be credible in today’s political climate.”
State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long will have the final say on this endorsement, but with both the Republicans and the Conservatives behind him, Katko has a better shot at trying to prevent a GOP primary.
One of his rivals for Row B, John Lemondes, a retired Army colonel from LaFayette, has not yet decided whether he will seek to force a primary. He finished second to Katko during the GOP endorsement process, though Katko received more than 50 percent of the weighted party vote, according to Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey.
So far, only Ian Hunter of Syracuse, who fought with party leaders last year after he passed petitions to run on the GOP and Conservative lines in the mayor’s race, has announced plans to mount a GOP primary challenge. Dadey went to court to kick Hunter off the GOP line, leaving the Democratic incumbent, Mayor Stephanie Miner, without a Republican opponent. Hunter ended up receiving just over 15 percent of the vote on the Conservative line.
Because of the early, court-ordered June primaries in House races, candidates must beging passing petitions tomorrow to gather the 1,250 signatures needed for a spot on the primary ballot.
Maffei has been a top target for the Republicans and Conservatives ever since he was bounced from his seat in a tight race by Ann Marie Buerkle in 2010. Maffei defeated Buerkle in a re-match in 2012, and she briefly mulled running against him yet a third time, before opting out of the race last September. Buerkle was appointed by President Obama to a $155,00-a-year, five year term as a commissioner on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in the spring of 2013.
Oct 9th - 12:48 pm
Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei is certainly lucking out.
First, there was former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, the Republican who unseated him by a narrow margin in 2010, who decided to bow out of the race.
Today, it’s Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci who says that while the NY-24 is winnable for the Republicans next year, he won’t be their candidate.
Antonacci, in a statement released by Republican county Chairman Tom Dadey this afternoon, declared he won’t be a candidate, believing his skills lie best in being the county comptroller.
“At this time, I believe I can serve the people of Onondaga County far better as their Comptroller than I can as one of 435 separately-elected members of the House of Representatives,” he said. “I am honored to serve as the county’s top fiscal watchdog, and know there is plenty of important work here still left to do.”
In 2010, Antonacci was considered a long-shot candidate for attorney general on the Republican line, but ultimately stood down in favor of District Attorney Dan Donovan, the GOP nominee who would go on to lose to Democrat Eric Schneiderman.
Maffei won his seat back from Buerkle in 2012 by a far more comfortable margin. The race one of several battleground House races around upstate and suburban New York last year.
Buerkle was appointed after losing her seat to the Consumer Product Safety Commission by President Obama.
Sep 25th - 8:47 am
A second rematch between Republican Ann Marie Buerkle and Democrat Dan Maffei won’t happen in the 24th Congressional District.
Buerkle, who was unseated by Maffei in the central New York House seat, announced this morning in a news release that she won’t run in 2014.
“Serving the people of Upstate New York in Congress has been one of the highest honors of my life. While I love Upstate New York and will always remain deeply committed to the people who live here, I have decided that I will not seek election to Congress in 2014,” she said. “The outpouring of support and encouragement I received to run again has been humbling. Deciding not to do so was a difficult decision, but it is the right one for me at this time.”
Buerkle defeated Maffei, then a freshman incumbent, in 2010 in an extraordinarily close race.
Maffei would regain his seat in 2012 in a redrawn district was considerably more favorable to a Democrat, especially in a presidential election year.
Since losing her seat, Buerkle has been appointed to the Consumer Product Safety Commission by President Obama.
Buerkle today pledged to remain active “in the public arena.”
“Although I have decided not to run for office at this time, I look forward to pursuing other avenues that will allow me to continue to be politically involved. The details of what exactly the future holds in that regard remain to be seen, but I am excited to see what the next chapter holds,” she said.
Mar 4th - 1:51 pm
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.”
Nov 9th - 2:15 pm
Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, who two years ago rode a wave of tea party support into Congress in a closely contested election, is conceding this afternoon to Democrat Dan Maffei.
Buerkle is trailing by more than 14,500 votes after Tuesday’s election against Maffei, the incumbent she defeated in 2010.
Despite it being unlikely to overcome the deficit with absentee ballots, Burekle had not conceded the race on Election Day.
The race was an expensive one, with both candidates lobbing charges at each other over womens health issues and the future of the Medicare program.
The newly formed district in the Syracuse area was also more difficult for a Republican to run in, especially in a presidential election year.
Nov 7th - 3:35 pm
Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, who narrowly won her first term two years ago against Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei, now finds herself in the reverse situation this time around.
Maffei is the apparent winner of Tuesday’s race, but Buerkle says she’s not conceding, announcing in statement earlier today that she wants to see every vote count.
Buerkle won her Syracuse-area seat by 567 votes in 2010, a Republican wave year.
But Maffei, who has declared victory, now leads 130,508 to Buerkle’s 117,904.
“In 2010, we were trailing on election night, only to see more votes come in and the outcome changed. With so many ballots still to be recorded, it is important that we make sure there is an accurate counting of all votes. Our right to vote has been bought and paid for by the men and women of our armed services, and we owe it to all who have paid the ultimate price to count these ballots and allow the Democratic process to run its course.”
Nov 7th - 12:40 am
Former Rep. Dan Maffei successfully defeated Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, who took his job in GOP wave of 2010.
UPDATE: Rep. Buerkle’s speech to supporters.
Nov 3rd - 12:00 pm
I think Steve Greenberg’s press release headline says it best:
“So Much Campaigning; So Much Money; So Little Movement.”
Seven weeks and millions of dollars after Siena’s first poll found Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle and Dan Maffei is a dead heat, with each receiving 43 percent of the vote, the two candidates have both gained a meager one percentage point, bringing the NY-24 race to a 44-44 deadlock.
Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum is receiving 8 percent, while a mere 3 percent remain undecided.
Buerkle and Maffei each have the support of 76 percent of the voters in their respective parties.
While Buerkle has a small three-point lead among independents in a district virtually evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, this race is tied because Maffei gets slightly more support from Republicans than Buerkle gets from Democrats, Greenberg said.
Maffei leads in Syracuse 60-26, compared to 60-30 percent in September.
Buerkle edges out Maffei in the rest of Onondaga County 46-44 – virtually unchanged from 45-44 percent.
She also leads 49-37 in the rest of the district, compared to 45-33 in September.
Maffei now leads with women by 12 points after previously trailing by one point, and Buerkle leads among men by 13 points.
More than eight in 10 voters on both sides say they will not be changing their minds come Election Day.
But only one-third of Rozum’s supporters are that committed to their candidate, so it’s possible either Maffei or Buerkle could pick up some of the Green Party candidate’s backers come Tuesday.
Both Maffei and Buerkle are viewed slightly more unfavorably than favorably by NY-24 voters, but his favorables have taken more of a hit than hers during this campaign.
President Obama continues to lead Mitt Romney in NY-24. But that race has tightened. It’s now at 53-42, which is down from Obama’s 19 point lead in September.
As Greenberg says: It all comes down to GOTV now. Whichever candidate is better at getting his or her supporters to the polls is likely to win this one.
But it’s very likely to go into overtime.
Maffei has already gone to court seeking an impoundment order for all the ballots cast Tuesday. The two sides are due in court for a hearing Monday afternoon.
Nov 2nd - 2:59 pm
Talk about planning ahead.
We still have three full days remaining before voters head to the polls, and congressional candidate Dan Maffei’s campaign has already gone to court seeking an impoundment order for all ballots cast in the NY-24 race.
YNN Syracuse’s intrepid Bill Carey tells me a hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. on Monday in front of state Supreme Court Justice Deborah H. Karalunas.
Maffei spokesman Marc Bruner said: “This is a standard practice in potentially close races to ensure a fair and accurate count of every vote.” (Yes, that’s true. But this seems early to me…or maybe it’s just me).
Early or not, this isn’t terribly surprising, given the fact that Maffei lost his seat to Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle – the woman he’s now trying to unseat – back in 2010 by less than 700 votes.
A Siena poll released last month found Maffei and Buerkle in a dead heat, with both receiving 43 percent of the vote. Green Party candidate Usula Rozum was at 7 percent, (which explains why the Republicans are so keen to keep her in the race and perhaps even boost her performance) and 6 percent were undecided.
Siena is scheduled to release its second assessment of this race over the weekend. The contest is widely considered one of the top 10 most competitive House races in the country.
UPDATE: Here are all the legal documents:
Nov 1st - 2:19 pm
Democrat Dan Maffei, whose fight to re-take his seat from Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle is one of the most competitive House races in the country, just received a nod from the country’s top elected Democrat: President Obama.
The Maffei campaign released the following statement from the president:
“America’s middle class needs Dan Maffei in Congress to stand up and fight for them. Dan will create jobs here at home by building from the middle out, not the top down. He will protect Medicare for our seniors and education for our next generation. Middle class families can count on Dan and he needs your support on election day.”
Of course, a statement isn’t anywhere near as significant as an in-person endorsement. But the president is, understandably, a little busy right now, focused on trying to hold on to his own job in a very tight race witth Republican Mitt Romney.
This isn’t the first high-profile endorsement Maffei has received. He was one of three upstate Democrats, along with Reps. Kathy Hochul and Louise Slaughter, to benefit from in-person visits and endorsements from former President Clinton.
Maffei wasted no time in touting Clinton’s support in a TV ad. Don’t be surprised to see last-minute mailers and/or radio and TV ads that also mention the Obama endorsement, too.
Early last month, Siena found the NY-24 race a dead heat, with Maffei and Buerkle both receiving 43 percent and Usula Rozum getting 7 percent.
That poll showed Obama with a huge, 55-36 percent lead over Romney in the newly drawn NY-24, even though the district has slightly more enrolled Republicans than Democrats.
However, at that time, the president was not providing any coattails for Maffei. In fact, only 70 percent of Obama supporters said they were with Maffei, while 88 percent of Romney supporters are with Buerkle.
That same poll found Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a 75 percent approval rating with NY-24 voters. Last week, Cuomo endorsed Maffei (along with Hochul and Slaughter) and made an appearance in the district on his behalf.
Siena is scheduled to release another NY-24 poll this weekend, so we’ll see what – if anything – has changed over the past month.