To close out this first week of Race of the Day updates, I’m excited to tell you about the political landscape in New York’s 24th Congressional District. Voters here will see a rematch this November between Republican small-business owner Richard Hanna and Democrat incumbent Michael Arcuri.
The 24th district covers 11 counties in Central New York, and includes the cities of Auburn, Cortland, Rome and Utica. Having been redistricted several times over the past 60 years, it had been represented by Republicans since 1983, most recently by Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, whose retirement opened the door for Arcuri. Although several Democrats have served this district in the past, it is a battleground seat that can be won back with a candidate like Hanna.
Since 2000, seven of the district’s counties have seen population declines, and the region has been hard-hit economically over the past decade. As in past years, jobs will be a major focus of the 2010 campaign. Rather than stand up for his district and constituents, Arcuri has been a flip-flopping lap-dog in Washington – switching positions on several important issues and having trouble deciding whether or not to even run for re-election.
Following his election in the Democrat wave of 2006, Arcuri has consistently ignored the best interests of his constituents. In 2008, even with President Obama on the top of the ticket, local voters sent him a message when Richard Hanna received 48% of the vote to Arcuri’s 52%. Since then, he has continued to vote with Nancy Pelosi 90.7% of the time – which includes lending his support to the Speaker’s healthcare takeover, $987 stimulus bill, and cap-and-trade legislation.
Richard Hanna is a life-long resident of upstate New York and has a track record of success. After caring for his family and putting himself through college, he founded his own construction company which gradually grew to employ over 450 people. Drawing on his life experiences as a family-man and proven job creator, Richard will give the people in NY-24 the voice they’ve been lacking.
In preparing for his 2010 re-match against Arcuri, Richard is off to a strong start, out-raising his opponent in the first quarter. He is a strong fiscal conservative who is ready to fight Pelosi’s big government, tax and spend agenda in Washington.
As a first time candidate, Richard was able to put together a strong coalition of local support and enough money to pose a serious challenge despite gains made by Democrats across the country. With his challenging Arcuri once again, this will be one of the most competitive seats in 2010. Former President George W. Bush garnered 53% in 2004, and President Obama won the district with only 50% of the vote in 2008. Couple Arcuri’s lack-luster voting record with a Cook PVI rating of R+2, and we’re off to the races.