Republican Rep. John Katko is the first incumbent in more than a decade to be reelected to the 24th Congressional District. The district flipped back and forth between Republicans and Democrats in the past four congressional election cycles.
“And they said this was a swing district, right?" Katko asked the audience at a Republican victory party in Syracuse. "Not anymore!”
Katko and other Republicans in Onondaga County rode a wave of enthusiasm to victory Tuesday night. Katko talked about leaving his job as a federal prosecutor two years ago to run for Congress.
“I did so because I wanted to make a difference in Washington, I wanted to show that there is a different way to govern, a different way to lead by reaching across the aisle, working with the other side and being independent,” Katko said. "We've sent a message to Washington and to everybody that you can do that. You can be your own person, you can be an independent and you can make things work. For all of you out there who helped me, thank you very much. And I want to let you all know that we're just getting warmed up."
Katko had a solid win and maintained a large lead in the polls throughout the campaign over his Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon.
Deacon ran a well-funded campaign, helped by the Democrat Party, but admitted that Katko had an advantage.
"It’s always an uphill battle challenging an incumbent. So you always have to work a little bit harder, but I think we got out the message out the best we could. And we did everything we could in the campaign. I have no regrets, I think we ran a great campaign, and I’m proud of the work that we did on the ground.”
Deacon says she’ll still fight for issues important to her going forward, in particular, paid family leave. As for the future, she says she’ll take some time off before deciding whether to jump into the political arena again.
It also marks the first time a Republican has won in this district during a presidential election since 2004.
Missing from Katko's victory speech was any mention of Donald Trump. Katko said a month ago he would not vote for Trump.
The 24th Congressional District includes Onondaga, Cayuga and Wayne Counties, and the western part of Oswego County.