NRCC Ad #2 in NY-24: Maffei ‘Puts Us At Risk

The NRCC has released its second ad in the NY-24 race, accusing Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei of being soft on terrorism and putting Americans at risk.

The ad cites Maffei’s votes over the past two years on several amendments to defense spending bills, including his support for a measure that prevents the use of federal funds for the use of military force in Iraq, and his rejection of a measure that prohibits the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to foreign countries.

One amendment was proposed by California Rep. Barbara Lee. According to her office, it “prohibits funding for the use of force pursuant to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, effective on December 31,2014, when the last American combat troops will rotate out of Afghanistan and the responsibility for security will have passed to the Afghan people.”

Technically speaking, this isn’t a simple funding cut, and it’s a bit of a stretch for this ad to say that the congressman voted in favor of reducing financial support for troops fighting terrorists overseas.

One hundred thirty five of Maffei’s fellow Democrats voted “yes” on Lee’s amendment, and so did 21 Republicans – including Rep. Chris Gibson, a US Army vet who taught at West Point and is the author of “Securing the State”, a book on national security decision-making that was published in 2008.

The claim that Maffei voted in favor of bringing individuals accused of terrorism to be tried here in the US isn’t so cut-and-dried, either. Robert Harding of The Auburn Citizen has a detailed explanation of the ins and outs on this issue, as well as the ad’s claim that the congressman would keep police from detaining illegal immigrants who have been accused of crimes. In one of those cases, Maffei and Gibson were again on the same page

The new ad will run for the next week on broadcast stations in the Syracuse market. The buy is $145,000. Maffei is facing Republican former prosecutor John Kato in the November general election.

Here’s the script:

ANNCR: In a world like this…

NEWS ANCHOR: The country is about to go to war. Violence, street gang, crossing the border

ANNCR: Dan Maffei puts us at risk.

Maffei cut funding for troops fighting terrorists. Backs constitutional rights for foreign terrorists, voted to bring them to America. Maffei would keep police from detaining illegal immigrants who’ve been suspected of crimes.

Dan Maffei: Dangerously wrong for our security.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.

DCCC: Katko a ‘Rubber Stamp’ for Boehner

The DCCC is up on the air with its first ad of the NY-24 race, which casts GOP candidate John Katko as little more than a “rubber stamp” for House Speaker John Boehner.

The ad starts running on cable and broadcast stations in Central New York today.

The focus is women’s issues – specifically abortion rights and contraception – which has been a very hot topic in both congressional and state Senate races.

NY-24 is a pretty evenly divided district, with 141,823 active registered Democrats, 140,099 Republicans and 100,647 so-called “blanks” as of April, according to the state Board of Elections.

The district has changed hands between the GOP and the Democrats over the last several election cycles, and its current representative, Democrat Dan Maffei, lost his seat once before to a conservative Republican who accused him to being too liberal for this centrist region.

Since his return to Congress, Maffei has been a lot more careful about his voting record, occasionally breaking ranks with his fellow Democrats and moving to the center in an effort to brand himself a “pragmatic progressive.”

By last August, Maffei had voted with his Democratic leaders 75 percent of the time since beginning his second term in January, according to a vote-tracking database maintained by the Washington Post. Now, he’s up to 79 percent of the time.

Here’s the script for the DCCC’s ad:

“Narrator: Lately, John Katko’s been a busy guy.

Busy being a rubber stamp for John Boehner and Republican leaders in Congress.

On abortion, Katko sides with them, opposing a woman’s right to choose.

And Katko would even allow employers to deny coverage for common forms of birth control.

He said denying women access to contraception is the “right decision.”

John Katko. A rubber stamp who doesn’t share our values.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”

Holder to Recognize NY-24 GOP Candidate

US Attorney General Eric Holder will give a boost to Republican NY-24 candidate John Katko this week by presenting the former prosecutor with an award in recognition of his work battling two violent Syracuse street gangs while serving as an assistant US attorney in Central New York.

Katko is on tap to receive the Director’s Award for Superior Performance – one of the highest honors issued by the US Justice Department – at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

“I am honored and humbled by this bipartisan recognition of my work as a federal prosecutor,” Katko said in a statement issued by his campaign. “I left the Department of Justice this January with a heavy heart after two decades of public service, but eager to serve Central New York in a new capacity in Congress. Awards like this demonstrate the effectiveness of my prosecutorial work, but also highlight my ability to bring people together for a common goal regardless of background or political affiliation.”

Katko resigned from his post as an ADA in January to launch a challenge to Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei.

The timing of this award is notable, since it comes on the heels of a controversial story (in the Syracuse Post-Standard) about the 2000 theft of a gun Katko owned that was subsequently used in a shoot-out that left two men dead.  Katko was not disciplined or reprimanded over the stolen gun incident, which was reviewed by the DOJ.

This is not Katko’s first Superior Performance award, or even his second.

In 1997, Katko he received the distinction from then-US AG Janet Reno (a Democrat, like Holder) for his participation in a nationwide wiretap investigation into international drug trafficking. In 2005, he was singled out again, this time by Republican US AG Alberto Gonzalez, for his ground-breaking work on gang prosecutions and for spearheading the Syracuse Gang Violence Task Force.

NY-24 Debate Set

Add the NY-24 contest to the list of congressional races in which TWC News will be hosting a debate this election season.

Both Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei and his Republican challenger, John Katko, have accepted our invitation to debate before the November general election. The face-off will take place on Oct. 27. It will be taped in the afternoon and then aired later that evening without interruptions.

Maffei is hoping to keep the Central New York seat from which he has already been ousted once. He was initially elected in 2008, becoming the first Democrat to represent the district since 1981. (The seat’s previous occupant, Republican Jim Walsh, decided not to seek re-election that year).

In 2010, Maffei was defeated in a tight (567-vote) race by Republican Ann Marie Buerkle, a conservative who was helped to victory by support from the Tea Party. Two years later, assisted in part by the fact that it was a presidential election year that boosted Democratic turnout, Maffei turned the tables of Buerkle, defeating her in a re-match and winning by a four percent margin.

Katko, a former federal prosecutor, retired from that post in January to challenge Maffei. He was initially one of eight GOP candidates vying for the party’s nod to take on the incumbent Democrat. In August, a top Republican polling firm found Katko trailing Maffei by just seven percentage points, 43-36. The Rothenberg Report ranked this race “Democrat favored” in mid-August.

TWC News will also host a debate between the three candidates running in NY-21 – Republican Elise Stefanik, Democrat Aaron Wolf and the Green Party’s Matt Funiciello – on Oct. 8, and another in NY-19 between Republican Rep. Chris Gibson and Democrat Sean Eldridge on Oct. 22.


Katko: ‘No Regrets’ About Purchase, Theft of Gun

Republican NY-24 candidate John Katko said he has “no regrets” about purchasing a handgun that was subsequently stolen from his truck in 2000 and used in a hold-up and shootout that left two Syracuse men dead.

In a statement issued this morning in response to a Syracuse Post-Standard story about the 14-year-old incident, Katko said he bought the gun – a .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol – as a security precaution against “very real physical threats” against himself and his family during the time he worked in the US attorney’s office. Katko noted he had permission to obtain the weapon and did so “at the urging of the United States Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

“Fourteen years ago I, too, became the victim of a crime,” Katko said. “My protective weapon was stolen from a locked briefcase concealed from view in my locked vehicle. I left the weapon in that vehicle as my wife and I felt uncomfortable taking it into an area church for a required meeting with other Onondaga County Foster Parent Program volunteers – c learly not an appropriate venue to be carrying a weapon of any kind.”

“This incident was fully investigated by the United States Department of Justice and the United States Marshals Service and no wrong doing was found. The stolen weapon was later recovered on a suspect in a double homicide; tests confirmed the weapon was not used in the commission of that crime.”

The Post-Standard story notes that Katko broke no state or federal gun laws, and he was not disciplined by the Justice Department after the shooting. “But a review of the case shows he likely violated federal policies for the safe handling and storage of government-issued weapons.”

Katko has repeatedly insisted the gun was in a locked case in his locked truck. A police report cited by the paper says Katko told police that the gun – loaded with nine rounds of ammunition – was in a green canvas bag that was stolen out of the truck along with his US Attorney’s Office ID card, personal checks and other papers.

Katko, who quit his job as a federal prosecutor to challenge Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei this fall, accused his “opponents” of rehashing this incident in an effort to impact his congressional run. He insists that “many relevant details” were left out of the Post-Standard story.

“People should know that I never back down from a fight,” Katko said. “And I will not allow this story to distract from the needs of Central New York voters regarding jobs, our economy, fairness, and failed leadership in Washington.”

NY-24 GOP candidate statement on use of stolen gun in armed robbery in 2000. by liz_benjamin6490

Maffei Hits The Airwaves

Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei is out with what I believe is his first TV ad of this campaign cycle – a spot that tries to paint him as hardworking Syracuse East Side boy made good who’s in it to help constituents, not for the perks that come along with the title of “congressman.”

The ad, “Hard Work,” notes that Maffei refused “taxpayer-funded subsidy for health care” available to members of Congress under Obamacare, and also just last month introduced a bill – known as the “Members PLay by the Same Rules Act” – which prevent all his colleagues in both the House and Senate from accepting that benefit.

Maffei is enrolled in a co-op plan offered through the New York State of Health exchange, and, according to a recent press release, pays his premium out of pocket every month.

Maffei, who lost his Central New York seat to former Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle by 648 votes in 2010, and then won it back from her two years ago, this year is facing Republican former prosecutor John Katko, who is running on the GOP, Conservative and Independence Party lines.

This ad comes on the heels of the first publicly released poll of the NY-24 race, which showed Katko trailing Maffei by just seven percentage points. The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a top GOP firm, and was commissioned by the Katko campaign.

The NRCC didn’t think much of Maffei’s ad, issuing a statement that called it a “a laughable exercise in deception and hypocrisy,” from a “D.C. insider.”

“Maffei left out the fact that he still collected his paycheck after voting against every budget offered last year,” NRCC spokesman Ian Prior said. “He failed to disclose that he voted for first class airfare and taxpayer funded healthcare for life for members of Congress. And nowhere did Maffei mention that he passed out over $200,000 in taxpayer funded staff bonuses and supported requiring that those same taxpayers pay for his political campaigns.”

Justice Rejects GOP Bid to Oust Maffei From WFP Line (Updated)

A state Supreme Court justice today thwarted the Onondaga County GOP’s effort to kick Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei off the labor-backed Working Families Party line, rejecting the party’s argument that the congressman’s campaign manager is not a New York resident, and therefore should not have been able to circulate WFP petitions on his behalf.

The Republicans maintained that Maffei’s campaign manager, Kane Miller, shouldn’t have been allowed to register as a WFP member because he’s not a permanent state resident. But Maffei’s attorney, Frank Hoare, argued that Kane meets all the legal requirements for registering to vote in New York: He’s a US citizen of at least 18 years of age and has resided at his current address in Syracuse for at least 30 days.

Justice Hugh Gilbert agreed with Hoare, noting Miller has a lease to remain in Syracuse through February 2015, even though he has been very transitory since graduating college, due to the nature of his campaign work, and has registered to vote in his native Georgia and also in North Carolina.

In a statement issued by Maffei’s campaign, Hoare said today’s decision was “no surprise, given the unanimous, bipartisan” decisions by the Onondaga County and state Boards of Elections that Miller was, in fact, eligible to carry petitions for the congressman.

“Each of these decisions reaffirm that representatives of the Maffei campaign followed the letter and spirit of the law and had the proper qualifications to collect the requisite signatures to qualify for the Working Families Party ballot lin,” Hoare said. “The latest decision by the Onondaga County Supreme Court should be the final chapter in this distraction. As I have said all along, this challenge from John Katko and his Tea Party allies has no merit and is nothing more than a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

The WFP could prove crucial to Maffei in his battle against Republican John Katko, since Katko has three ballot lines – GOP, Independence and Conservative – to Maffei’s two – Democrat and, thanks to this decision, WFP.

Gilbert’s decision appears below. It is unclear whether Dadey will appeal. UPDATE: Reached on his cell phone, Dadey said he has been in Western New York for most of the day and only just had a chance to review the decision. He will be discussing it with the Katko campaign and its attorneys over the weekend. In short, no decision has been made yet as to an appeal, but the door is open to file one.

State Supreme court decision keeping Rep. Dan Maffei on the WFP line. by liz_benjamin6490

DNC Chair to Syracuse for Maffei

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz will be in Syracuse Monday to help Rep. Dan Maffei launch “Women for Maffei” – a coalition that will highlight the congressman’s “strong record on women’s issues and commitment to strengthening the middle class.”

Maffei’s campaign announced Wasserman-Schultz’s impending visit. The event will take place at 3:15 p.m. at a Syracuse establishment called Laci’s Tapas Bar.

An appearance from the DNC chair indicates that the NY-24 race is on the national party’s radar screen. Maffei is facing a challenge from Republican former assistant US attorney John Kato, who also has the Conservative and Independence Party lines.

Katko is a newcomer to the political scene, but NY-24 is a closely divided district that has traded hands several times in recent years. This is Maffei’s second time holding the seat. He was first elected in 2008 and then lost his seat in 2010 to former Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle in a very tight race (she won by just 648 votes).

Maffei launched a re-match against Buerkle in 2012 and ousted her, thanks in part to a court-ordered redistricting plan that made the lines less favorable to the Republican incumbent.

Buerkle contemplated a re-match of her own this fall, but decided against that after she was appointed a commissioner on the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission by President Obama.

County BOE Keeps Maffei On WFP Line

The Onondaga County Board of Elections agreed on Monday to not deny Rep. Dan Maffei the Working Families Party line in his re-election run.

Republicans earlier this month filed a challenge to petition signatures witnessed by Kane Miller, arguing was registered to vote in two states, North Carolina and Georgia.

But the BOE in Onondaga County found “significant documentation” to keep the labor-backed ballot line.

“We are pleased but not surprised by the Onondaga County Board of Elections’ bipartisan, unanimous decision to confirm Kane Miller’s status as a duly registered voter,” said Frank Hoare, the Albany-based election lawyer representing Maffei. “The Onondaga County Board of Elections’ decision noted that ‘significant documentation’ was submitted to indicate and verify Mr. Miller’s address as a resident of the 24th Congressional District. The Onondaga County Board of Elections’ decision reaffirms that representatives of the Maffei campaign followed the letter and spirit of the law and had the proper qualifications to collect the requisite signatures to qualify for the Working Families Party ballot line.”

The WFP also cheered the ruling for Maffei as well.

“The Onondaga County Board of Elections made the right decision. This political stunt by John Katko and his Tea Party allies is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. Maffei’s campaign has the endorsement of the Working Families Party and the signatures necessary to appear on the Working Families Party line on the ballot this fall,” said Bill Lipton, State Director of the Working Families Party, in a statement.

Maffei’s GOP opponent, John Katko, has the GOP, Conservative and Independence Party lines.

Katko Launches Bio Video

Republican John Katko launched a video on his campaign website on Friday providing an 7-minute biographical overview of his personal and professional life.

Katko runs through his roots in central New York, work as a prosecutor alongside his wife Robin.

The first-time candidate is a former federal prosecutor in Onondaga County who is challenging Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei.

The video serves an introduction for voters to Katko, who is making his first run for public office this year in the NY-24.

Maffei, who will be a guest on Capital Tonight this evening, is running for a third term after winning his seat back from Republican Ann Marie Buerkle in 2012.