Katko Challenger Has $85K In Cash On Hand

The congressional campaign of Democrat Eric Kingson announced on Thursday it had raised $101,301 in the first fundraising quarter as he seeks to win the nomination to take on Republican freshman John Katko.

It is not immediately clear how much of the money Kingson raised from individual donors.

But Kingson, a college professor who has studied Social Security, has nearly $85,000 in cash on hand for the central New York House.

“I am so grateful for the outpouring of support for my candidacy thus far. Our strong fundraising numbers will enable us to press our message about expanding Social Security, guaranteeing paid family leave and creating an economy in which people can work for a better life right here in Central New York,” said Kingson in a statement.

Democrat Colleen Deacon, a former aide to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the central New York area, entered the race earlier this month, and has already received a fundraising boost from her old boss.

Gillibrand Aide Launching House Campaign

deaconColleen Deacon, a regional director for Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, is launching a campaign to run for the central New York congressional seat held by Republican freshman John Katko.

Deacon has a Twitter account, as well as a campaign website, geared toward the run.

Updated: Deacon has filed with the Federal Election Commission. You can view her filing here.

“I have seen – up close and personal – how the issues in front of Congress effect real people’s lives, and I want to be a real voice for Central New York,” Deacon states on her campaign website.

College professor Eric Kingson is the other declared Democrat in the race.

Katko last year unseated Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei in the 24th congressional district, which includes the city of Syracuse. More >

Katko Raises Nearly $300K

Freshman U.S. Rep. John Katko reported on Tuesday having raised $299,431 in his first fundraising cycle since taking office.

Katko did not report through his campaign how much money he has on hand in the campaign account. But the money he is reporting today came from 429 individual donors.

“I’m incredibly humbled by the strong support we have received throughout NY-24 and across the country,” Katko said in a statement. “I am focused on providing a strong voice for Central New York in Washington, and I’m honored to have the support of so many of the individuals and families that I serve in Congress.”

Katko won the central New York congressional seat last year after unseating Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei.

Katko Hires Senior Staff

Rep.-elect John Katko on Monday announced he hired five senior staffers for his office, plucking aides from the offices of Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, Reps. Chris Gibson, Richard Hanna and state Sen. John DeFrancisco.

“I have pledged to have an open door policy, to provide exceptional constituent service, to understand local issues, and to advance the needs of Central New York in Washington,” said Katko in a statement. “That starts with a strong team. These individuals bring knowledge, experience, and passion for serving the people of the 24th Congressional District. I am confident that this dedicated team of individuals will excel in their new roles and I am excited to work alongside them to provide strong leadership for Central New York in Congress.”

Katko, a Republican who defeated Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei last month for the Syracuse-area House seat, hired Brad Gentile for the chief of staff post.

Gentile previously worked as a legislative director and deputy chief of staff to Rep. Chris Gibson, a Hudson Valley Republican. Gentile’s resume also includes a stint as a legislative assistance in Speaker John Boehner’s office.

Katko also hired Tom Connellan, a Syracuse police detective, to work on his local staff as district director.

Terre Dennis, a former regional directro for Rep. Richard Hanna is being brought on as a director of constituent services.

Justin Sayles will be Katko’s deputy district director; he previouls was a project coordinator for Onondaga County.

Erin O’Connor, who has worked in Sen. John DeFrancisco’s office, will be communications director and counsel.

Maffei Ad Defends Family Against ‘Personal Attacks’

On the heels of a poll that shows he has lost the lead in his re-election bid, Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei has released a new TV ad featuring his wife and newborn daughter that slams his Republican opponent, John Katko, for making “personal attacks on my family.”

“Rep. Dan Maffei grew up in Central New York, on the East Side of Syracuse, and is committed to making the middle class in Central New York stronger,” said the congressman’s campaign manager Kane Miller, campaign manager. “He couldn’t be more proud of his wife Abby, her career, and their daughter Maya. He will continue to stand up for his family and middle class families across Central New York, and will never allow personal attacks from John Katko or anyone else about his family.”

The decision by Maffei and his wife to purchase a $700,000 home in the D.C. suburbs this past spring, coupled with the fact that Abby Maffei split her time between Syracuse and D.C. for her job at CARE, an international humanitarian group that fight global poverty, and that the couple’s daughter was born in a D.C. hospital have all become fodder throughout the campaign for Katko, who has questioned the congressman’s dedication to the district.

Maffei took issue with this line of attack during a TWC News debate in Syracuse this week, saying his wife and daughter should be “out of bounds” – even though he has included them in his campaign literature and ads (like this one, for example). The congressman said the birth of his daughter in D.C. enabled him to “make every single vote for this congressional district while I was being a good  father.”

He said the baby is now in New York, where he is spending all of his time campaigning to keep the seat he first won in 2008, lost in 2010 (to former Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle) and then won back (from Buerkle) in 2012.

Here’s the transcript of Maffei’s new ad, which starts airing this week on stations across NY-24:

Katko Opens Up 10-Point Lead Over Maffei

Republican John Katko leads Democratic incumbent Rep. Dan Maffei by 10 percentage points in the 24th congressional district, a Siena College-Post Standard poll released this morning found.

Katko, a former prosecutor, receives 52 percent of the vote, compared to 42 percent of support for Maffei, a Democrat who is in second, non-consecutive term.

The poll found Maffei has a broad, 32-point lead in the city of Syracuse, but that is a decline from a 48-point difference.

In the rest of Onondaga County, the poll found Katko leading Maffei by 21 points. In other areas of the central New York district, Katko is leading by 13 percentage ponits.

Previously, a Siena College poll found Maffei with an 8-percentage point advantage, 50 percent to Katko’s 42 percent.

The race for the NY-24 has been marked by an onslaught of negative advertising by the congressional campaign committees of both parties. In a sign of Maffei’s delicate situation, former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden both traveled to the area to hold rallies for him.

Maffei first won the seat in 2008, a presidential election year. In 2010, he lost the district to Republican Anne Marie Buerkle. But in a rematch two years later — another presidential election year — Maffei won the district back, which had been altered post redistricting.

In the race for governor, meanwhile, Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo’s lead over Republican Rob Astorino is shrinking in the district, the poll found.

Cuomo leads Astorino 43 percent to 39 percent, with 13 percent of support going to Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins. Earlier, Cuomo had been leading Astorino 44 percent to 32 percent in the 24th congressional district.

The poll of 704 likely voters was conducted from Oct. 22 through Oct. 24. It has a margin of error of 3.7 percent.

NRCC Counters Clinton’s NY-24 Visit With a New Anti-Maffei Ad

Just in time for former President Clinton’s appearance this afternoon in NY-24 on behalf of Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei, the NRCC has released a new TV ad accusing the congressman of putting Washington interests ahead of the interests of his Central New York constituents.

“After decades in Washington, Dan Maffei has become the ultimate, self-interested politician,” said NRCC spokesman Ian Prior. “Maffei has given Central New York families nothing but Obamacare and higher taxes, then turns around and hands out $200,000 in taxpayer money to give lavish bonuses and gifts to his own staff. Under Dan Maffei Central New York loses while Washington D.C. wins.”

The new ad will air through Election Day in the Syracuse and Rochester broadcast markets. Maffei is facing off against Republican former prosecutor John Katko. The two candidates will be going head to head in a TWC News debate this coming Monday, Oct. 27. The debate will air in Syracuse and Rochester at 7 p.m. Those interested in watching who don’t happen to live in that viewing area can catch it online. I’ll be moderating along with TWC News’ Syracuse reporter Bill Carey and Rochester reporter Seth Voorhees.

Here’s the script for the NRCC’s latest attack on Maffei in NY-24:

Announcer: “For Congressman Dan Maffei, Washington comes first. So when Maffei showered his staff with outrageous bonuses, it wasn’t surprising. DC first, it’s the Dan Maffei way.

He voted to allow first class travel and special health care perks for Congress. But for us, Maffei voted with Pelosi to push job killing taxes and devastating Medicare cuts, jeopardizing care for seniors.

With Dan Maffei’s Washington ways, we lose.”

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

House Majority PAC Sticks With Robertson In NY-23

The DCCC may have abandoned Democratic Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson in her quest to unseat Republican Rep. Tom Reed next month, but she isn’t completely going it alone.

The House Majority PAC just announced it is releasing new TV ads in 10 congressional districts across the country – including NY-23, where the House Democrats’ political arm, led by Long Island Rep. Steve Israel, recently cancelled two weeks worth of reserved air time so it could rededicate resources to protect incumbent Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is in a tight re-election battle with his 2012 opponent, former GOP Rep. Nan Hayworth, in NY-18.

The ad, which appears below, is airing in the Elmira market only starting tomorrow. And the buy isn’t terribly large – $49,138 – although that goes a lot further in the Southern Tier than, say, the NYC media market.

And, something is definitely better than nothing, from Robertson’s perspective – especially when you consider the fact that another Democratic House candidate recently abandoned by the DCCC, Aaron Woolf, didn’t make the House Majority PAC cut. In fact, the PAC cancelled $300,000 worth of air time it had reserved on Woolf’s behalf just before the national Democrats also decided to pull the plug on his.

The House Majority PAC has also purchased $58,472 worth of air time in Central New York’s NY-24 to benefit Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei. The ad, which can be seen below underneath the anti-Reed spot, slams Maffei’s Republican opponent, former prosecutor John Katko, for being “too conservative” for New York – particularly when it comes to women’s issues.

A GOP source insisted that these buys are not new and have been reserved for some time now. But considering the fact that money is being shifted around all over the place, it’s a safe bet these candidates consider it a win to have managed to hold on to their planned time slots.

In Ad, NRCC Ad Knocks Maffei, Ties Him To Washington

A TV ad that will air in the 24th congressional district from the National Republican Campaign Committee blasts Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei as a creature of Washington who voted to raise the debt ceiling and gave bonuses to his office staff.

The 30-second NRCC commercial also takes Maffei to task for an energy tax.

“Congressman Dan Maffei has made a career of Washington, leaving Central New York behind,” the ad’s script says. “Maffei backed an energy tax that could crush the middle class. Fewer jobs, higher electricity prices, forcing seniors to pay more.”

Republicans hope to retake the central New York district after Maffei regained his seat in Congress after defeating Republican incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle in 2012.

Democrats, meanwhile, aren’t wasting time attacking Maffei’s latest Republican rival, John Katko.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee earlier this month knocked Katko in a pair of ads over his passed prosecutions as well as Medicare funding.

A Former Democratic Chairman Switches Parties, Backs Katko

A former Democratic chairman in Oswego on Wednesday announced he had switched parties and endorsed the Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei.

In announcing his endorsement of John Katko, former Oswego City Democratic Chairman Eric Van Buren, currently the Oswego City Council vice president, said Katko has run an “honorable and effective campaign.”

“Recently, I submitted the paperwork to change my party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. I made this very personal decision after much thought and consideration. I philosophically and politically believe I can be more effective within the Republican Party and that starts with our federal representation. John Katko has run an honorable and effective campaign focused on the issues. It’s that kind of person that I want representing my family and all of Oswego in Congress.”