24th Congressional District

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A year ago, John Katko of Camillus was a federal prosecutor, putting criminals behind bars. Today he is congressman-elect for central New York’s 24th Congressional District.

The Republican's first foray into politics has led to a stunning victory over two-term Rep. Dan Maffei, a Democrat.      

“Anybody want to know why I’m wearing a purple tie?" Katko asked, opening his victory speech. "It’s a combination of red and blue because we all got to get together." 

He vowed to keep the promise he made on the campaign trail to work with Democrats in Washington.

Ryan Delaney | John Katko for Congress

Dan Maffei has conceded in the race for the 24th Congressional District. Republican John Katko wins.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The candidates for central New York’s hotly contested seat in Congress spent their final day of the campaign rallying voter turnout.

Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei has a slight edge in registered Democrats over Republicans in the 24th Congressional District, but he’s struggled to get them to the polls in midterm elections during his previous campaigns. So Monday afternoon he visited his campaign phone bank.

"Now it’s all up to the grassroots and getting out the vote," he said. "That is going to deliver this race; that’s going to deliver a lot more races nationwide." 

New Channel 9 WSYR

Democrat Dan Maffei and Republican John Katko met for their sixth and final debate of a race that has been contentious and full of attacks.

The News Channel 9 debate Sunday night saw both candidates make accusations, beginning with the race's many negative campaign ads and the fundraising needed to pay for them. The moderator asked both candidates whether or not they would need to answer to those who donated to their campaigns from outside the 24th Congressional District.

Katko pointed out that Maffei has had more money to spend in this race.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

With less than a week to go until Election Day, candidates in one of the highest profile races in central New York are in the midst of a debate blitz. Democrat incumbent Dan Maffei and his Republican challenger, John Katko, are both running to represent the 24th Congressional District, and outlined their stands at the Thursday Morning Roundtable in DeWitt.

The candidates offered up views on foreign policy to kick off the latest debate, specifically whether American troops should be used to deal with the advancement of ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, in the Middle East.

John Katko for Congress

As WRVO profiles congressional races in central and northern New York this week, we turn to the 24th Congressional District. It features a well-known Democrat who has struggled to hold onto the office, and a political neophyte. Today, we profile John Katko.

When John Katko decided to quit his job as a federal prosecutor in January to run for Congress, his sister was surprised.

"I’m like really, are you serious,” Cindy Hoyne said. “He’s like yeah. He’s not your typical politician; I think that’s what floored me the most.”

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

As WRVO profiles congressional races in central and northern New York this week, we turn to the 24th Congressional District. It features a well-known Democrat who has struggled to hold onto the office, and a political neophyte. We begin first with our profile of the incumbent, Rep. Dan Maffei.

Maffei has spent the better part of the last decade running for Congress. He’s lost, won, lost, won and now, at 46 years old, he’s running for re-election.

Sarah Jean Condon / The Citizen

A week busy with debates for the 24th Congressional District candidates continued last night with their first live televised debate.

The Democratic incumbent and Republican challenger fielded questions on infrastructure, and cuts to carbon emissions, taxes and the Affordable Care Act.

Gas tax

In the Syracuse Media Group/WCNY debate aired live, neither Rep. Dan Maffei nor Republican challenger John Katko supported raising the gas tax, which the federal government uses to fund bridge and road repair.

Ryan Delaney/WRVO and Katko for Congress

Republican John Katko and incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei largely stuck to the issues in their latest television debate Tuesday night. The two candidates took stands on the economy, Common Core and U.S. military action in Syria on the half-hour debate on CNY Central.

But on the issue of what to do about the aging span of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse, neither candidate had a definitive answer.

Katko said the options that have been presented are good ones, but he needs more information.

MemphisCVB / Flickr

With only a week left until Election Day, the Republicans running in two of upstate New York's historically more contested districts lead their Democratic opponents, according to newly released polls.

The 24th Congressional District showed the most dramatic shift in favor of the Republican. A Syracuse.com/Post-Standard/Siena College poll released early Tuesday, shows Republican John Katko with a ten point lead over Democratic incumbent Rep. Dan Maffei. Katko was down eight points when the last poll came out Sept. 21.

Ryan Delane / WRVO file photo

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) is courting senior voters as Election Day approaches. He stood with some local seniors in Syracuse, promising to protect Social Security. He admits there are some changes that could be made to the federal program.

“But it’s not in crisis," Maffei said. "It’s a program that continues to make sure that seniors can continue to live a dignified life, even if their private savings didn't work out, or something like that. And that’s the whole point of the program that Roosevelt put in.”

Sarah Jean Condon / The Citizen

The first of a series of televised debates in the race for the 24th Congressional District kicked off last night. Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei and Republican challenger John Katko sparred in the studios of Time Warner Cable News.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

In the waning days of the election, Republican congressional candidate John Katko is focusing on poverty.

Katko, a former federal prosecutor in Syracuse, says he’s seen up close the poverty plaguing the 23rd poorest city in the country.

"I remember many times walking up a dark stairway, trying to find a witness with one of the agents, knocking on the door, not knowing what’s going to happen when the door happens," Katko said. "But when that door opens, you see unbelievable living conditions in the city of Syracuse. Where is the outrage? Where is the concern?”

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The race to represent the 24th Congressional District has been marked largely by negative campaign ads, character attacks and a variety of powerful politicians coming to central New York. With eight days before Election Day, Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei and Republican challenger John Katko are now making their final pushes to attract prospective voters.

The national political parties have invested money and sent party leaders to stump for their candidates in the district, which has flip-flopped between going Republican and Democrat in recent elections.

Campbell Conversations

Democrat Rep. Dan Maffei and his Republican opponent John Katko appear together in their first debate of the campaign with Grant Reeher of the WRVO's Campbell Conversations. The two candidates for the 24th Congressional District have agreed to six debates before Election Day.

WRVO's debate has been broadcast in two parts. This second half focuses largely on domestic policy issues.

Campbell Conversations

Democrat Rep. Dan Maffei and his Republican opponent John Katko appear together in their first debate of the campaign with Grant Reeher of the WRVO's Campbell Conversations. The two candidates for the 24th Congressional District have agreed to six debates before Election Day.

WRVO's debate will be broadcast in two parts. The first half includes a discussion on the campaign commercials for both candidates, as well as what the United States should do about the Islamic State (ISIS) and the spread of the Ebola virus. Part two will be broadcast Sunday, October 26 at 6 p.m.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Some powerful Washington politicians are visiting central New York, stumping for their chosen candidates for the 24th Congressional District, in the final weeks of the campaign season.

It was Republican John Katko's turn first. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) headlined a $75-a-plate fundraising brunch in Auburn Sunday in support of Katko. McCarthy and Katko then toured the Seward House, once home to Abraham Lincoln's secretary of state William Seward.

Ryan Delaney/WRVO and Katko for Congress

The race for the 24th Congressional District has been characterized by its negative campaign ads. Grant Reeher, host of WRVO's Campbell Conversations, moderated the first debate between incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei and Republican challenger John Katko. In this portion of the debate, Reeher asked each candidate about their use of negative ads.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Republican Congressional candidate John Katko is trying to hold Rep. Dan Maffei to a clean campaign pledge the congressman proposed early in the campaign.

To flash back to April, Congressman Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) called on Katko, the former federal prosecutor trying to unseat him in the 24th Congressional District, to run a straight forward, issued-based campaign.

Maffei, Katko talk environment, but in typical tone

Oct 15, 2014
Ryan Delaney/WRVO and Katko for Congress

The candidates for a central New York congressional seat are talking about their environmental platforms, but as with much of the campaign recently, it’s come in the form of barbs.

Rep. Dan Maffei, the Democrat trying to hold onto the 24th Congressional District against Republican John Katko, says Katko has environmental views that are dangerous for central New York. Maffei charges Katko doesn’t believe in climate change.

"He’s putting politics and this campaign ahead of public safety," Maffei said at press event in Syracuse's Thorndon Park Tuesday.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei and his Republican challenger John Katko are locked into a tight race that will determine who represents the Syracuse-area's 24th Congressional District in Congress.

Maffei says he knew the race would be close.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Both candidates running to represent the 24th Congressional District want to prevent heroin and synthetic drug use in New York, but have different ways of doing it.

Republican candidate John Katko says he has a twofold approach to address the issue.

"It's targeted enforcement, beefed up targeted enforcement about the heroin and synthetic drug problem, through the enhancement of task forces," Katko said. "So that's basically what this plan is about."

Katko proposes to increase law enforcement funding and manpower, and expand treatment options.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Oswego Common Council Vice President Eric Van Buren has switched parties, and is endorsing Republican congressional candidate John Katko in his race against incumbent Democrat Rep. Dan Maffei.

Van Buren, the former Oswego City Democratic Committee chairman, released a statement Wednesday morning saying he made the decision after much thought and consideration.

Katko says he's happy to receive Van Buren's support, and that it's a sign of ongoing change in the region.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Republican congressional hopeful John Katko is criticizing Democratic incumbent Rep. Dan Maffei’s legislative record from his two terms in Congress as part of the latest salvo in a race that is getting tighter, according to some national political pundits.

During a news conference this week, Katko, a former prosecutor, pointed to a list of legislation Maffei has introduced in the 113th Congress.

Maffei continues attacks on opponent John Katko

Oct 2, 2014
Ryan Delaney/WRVO and Katko for Congress

Rep. Dan Maffei is again hitting his opponent Republican John Katko for things that happened when Katko was a federal prosecutor.

Maffei, a Democrat from Syracuse, says while Katko worked for the Justice Department, he let former Oswego mayor John Gosek off easy because he was a fellow Republican.

Gosek was arrested by the FBI in 2005 for soliciting sex from underage girls. In a plea deal, he served 33 months in prison, below the mandatory minimum for the crime, and was listed as a sex offender.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

With five weeks until election day, Rep. Dan Maffei’s reelection campaign is embarking on a campaign strategy called “30 Days and 30 Ways John Katko is Too Reckless and Radical for Central New York.”

Maffei, a Democrat, is running for his third term in Congress, and says the idea is to outline differences between him, and Republican nominee John Katko. Week one focuses on the candidate’s jobs agenda.  Maffei says he has a record and accuses Katko of having nothing but a one-page jobs document.

Talk Radio News Service / via Flickr

The nation's most powerful Republican will be in central New York this evening to campaign for the man challenging Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei.

It could be a welcomed boost for John Katko, who needs to make up ground against Maffei with just over six weeks before Election Day.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The 24th Congressional District race between Democrat Dan Maffei and Republican John Katko is very competitive according to the first public poll of this race released yesterday.  

The Syracuse.com/Post-Standard/Sienna College poll gives the incumbent Maffei an eight-point edge over his Republican challenger, former federal prosecutor John Katko. The poll shows that Maffei has a bigger edge with Democrats than Katko has with Republicans, but that Katko has a seven-point lead with independents.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The images coming from Ferguson, Missouri, of police in riot gear facing protesters has some in Congress calling for changes to the way local police agencies are able to use cast off military equipment from the Department of Defense.

The two candidates for the 24th Congressional District seat, which covers all of Onondaga, Cayuga and Wayne counties and the western half of Oswego County, have two different views of that.

Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei has already voted against the program that provides surplus military equipment to law enforcement agencies.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Republican congressional candidate John Katko says he has no regrets about legally obtaining a gun to use for protection while he was a federal prosecutor in Syracuse.

He accuses political opponents of rehashing a 14-year-old story about  the theft of that gun, and its use in a robbery that ended with the shooting death of two men in Syracuse.

“Despite all the threats I’ve been through over 20 years, I still stuck with it, and went after the worst criminals, the most violence criminals in El Paso, in Puerto Rico and here in Syracuse," Katko said.

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