Representative Richard Hanna marked what he called the official kick off to his re-election bid -- opening one of his campaign offices in Utica Wednesday. The one-term Republican has been running for re-election in the newly drawn 22nd congressional district, and in fact has already had one debate with his opponent, Democrat Dan Lamb.
Hanna has tried to carve out a position as a moderate Republican who can work with Democrats. The congressman told reporters at the event that he has supported more Democratic bills than any other Republican House member.
But Hanna says he's concerned that in a state that votes Democrat for president it may be hard for Republican congressional candidates to get out the vote.
I think turnout is going to be an issue. I think in a presidential year, I think one of the problems the party that is not representing the president, (which is the Republican party) may have a trouble with turnout," Hanna said. "So I urge people who want to support me, from both sides, to do that."
Hanna says he and Lamb have six debates scheduled, more than most congressional candidates in New York state. Hanna told reporters that Lamb is wrong in his assertion that Hanna has not agreed to enough debates.
"I think people have a right to know what is going on and understand the candidates. And I think, on the other hand, I think a guy like me has an obligation to defend his record. So, that’s what I want to do," said Hanna.
Lamb sent out a press release earlier this week saying he would debate an empty chair for an additional so-called debate on Friday.
The new 22nd district covers all of Cortland, Oneida and Madison Counties, as well as most of Broome County and the eastern half of Oswego County.