In NY-24, Both Candidates Claim Independent Voice

Utica, NY – Democratic incumbent in New York's 24th Congressional District, Michael Arcuri and his Republican challenger, Richard Hanna met for a debate Tuesday night at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica.

The debate featured a number of heated exchanges between the candidates, with the audience reacting with notable boos and cheers to certain statements.

Arcuri said he is not afraid to vote against his part, saying he has been voted the most centrists member of Congress. He said that's a product of the district he represents.

"When I tell people in Washington," he said, "they say what's your district like?' I say it's a moderate district. It's full of Rockefeller Republicans and Reagan Democrats. It truly is, and I think that, you know, that is really sort of the mantra of this district."

Hanna disputed Arcuri's claim to be a Centrist, saying he voted with congressional Democrats more than 97% of the time. Hanna said he would not be afraid to vote against his party either.

"I'm doing this because I love my country, my community," he says, "and I want to do something important with the time I have left; and if that means that I vote against my party or vote with the Democratic party or whatever it is, I'm going to do what I believe is right. I have nothing else to gain in my life."

Hanna also said Arcuri switched his vote on the health care reform bill. Arcuri said he changed his mind on the issue after talking to constituents.