Local Democrats failed to meet a filing deadline to run a candidate in this year’s race to represent the 22nd Congressional District, which covers an area from Binghamton to Utica and west to Pulaski. Republican incumbent Richard Hanna will only have to get past two Republican challengers in this June’s primary.
Jim Testani is the chairman for the Broome County Democrats. He says the fact there isn’t a Democratic challenger isn’t from a lack of effort. Testani says he met with several potential candidates but says the rising cost of campaigning scared them all away.
“It’s really a very difficult thing when you bring somebody into a room and you’re telling them by the time you’re done with this it’s going to cost you a couple million dollars that you either have to raise or spend,” says Testani. “I had people who were interested but then they hear numbers like $1.5 million to $2 million to run for a congressional seat and they said 'thanks, but no thanks.'”
Testani says until campaign spending is slowed down, we’ll be seeing a lot more unopposed races.
The party will focus on keeping Assemblywoman Donna Lurpado in office and challenging Broome County Sheriff David Harder.
But the lack of a Democrat doesn’t mean Hanna is home free. He’s facing challenges from his right.
State Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney from New Hartford and Tea Party activist Michael Kicinski from Earlville are both hoping to unseat Hanna in the June primary.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has thrown its support behind Hanna.