With Election Day only about eight months away, the Fulton Republican Committee has thrown its support behind John Katko, a 51-year-old retired federal prosecutor who plans to run against Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei to represent central New York in Congress.
The 24th District covers all of Onondaga, Wayne and Cayuga Counties, along with the western portion of Oswego County. So far, the race has already drawn support from ten candidates, who all believe they can win the seat.
According to Oswego County Republican Committee Chairman Michael Backus, although an official Republican candidate has yet to be named, he says there are several highly qualified hopefuls in position to earn the endorsement.
"Obviously, there's a lot of problems in Washington that folks want to try and solve," Backus said. "And that's why I'm so thrilled that we've had so many great candidates. We really have a field of terrific people that are interested in running in this race. You already mentioned John Katko, but also John Lemondes, now a recently retired former Army colonel that's stepping away from a great role, and John Katko, stepping away as a United States attorney. Both felt so passionate about where our country is going, that they wanted to run."
Backus says although the GOP has yet endorse a candidate, there is hope they can take back a seat that's been in transition for several election cycles.
"An election is an election," Backus said. "You have a chance to win almost anything. But this race, you know the last several years you've seen it kind of flip back and forth with Congressman Walsh, and then Dan Maffei, then Ann Marie Buerkle and now back to Mr. Maffei. It's one of those races that's kind of flipping and flopping back and forth. We think we have a number of great candidates here, as I said, and I think all of them could be very, very successful this November."
On March 1, Republican leaders from each of the four counties represented will hold a convention in Syracuse to speak with each election hopeful and later designate a candidate for the November election.