Maffei says Katko crossed the line by talking about Democrat's wife, child

Aug 20, 2014

The issue of central New York Congressman Dan Maffei's connections to Washington, D.C. has once again come up as a campaign issue. But it's the mention of his wife and newborn daughter that has the Democrat steaming.

Maffei called a news conference Wednesday, telling reporters that Republican candidate John Katko crossed the line when mentioning the fact that Maffei’s wife works in Washington, D.C, and his baby was born in a Washington, D.C. area hospital earlier this summer

"Let me make this clear," Maffei said. "My wife and my daughter have no place in this campaign. They should not be mentioned. Period."

Dan Maffei says his family should be left out of the political race, but Katko denies the allegations.
Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO

But Katko says he's just answering questions he's hearing on the campaign trail about about Maffei’s priorities, which he says have intensified since Maffei bought a townhouse in the Washington, D.C. area.

"What really happened, we mentioned where he was living, where his family was living," Katko said. "That’s not a personal attack. That’s not saying anything terrible."

Katko says he's also been answering questions posed by constituents about Maffei's commitment to central New York.

“For him to sit there and say that I’m disrespecting his family is crossing the line simply because I said they live to Washington, D.C. is symptomatic of a larger problem," Katko said. "The larger problem is that he can’t face the fact that he’s a failed leader.”

Maffei disagrees, suggesting this just takes the public eye off the important issues of the day.

"And instead I have to come here and say that talking about my wife, her career choices, and my baby daughter shouldn’t be mentioned in a political campaign," Maffei said. "That should seem to be basic human, human sense."

Republican John Katko says he was answering questions posed by constituents, and has done nothing wrong.
Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Maffei also says that his family was never made an issue in prior races, and shouldn't be brought up now.

“I hope we can have a clean and straightforward campaign," Maffei said. "And I call on my opponent to immediately stop these petty attacks against my family.”

This isn't the first time Republican opponents have jumped on Maffei's ties to Washington, where he worked for several years before returning to central New York to run for Congress, earning him moniker "D.C. Dan."  Katko says he won’t avoid the topic in the future.

“I’m going to answer the questions when the constituents pose them to me in an honest and forthright manner," Katko explained. "That’s all we were doing here, and that’s all we’ll be doing going forward.”