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Tipsheet

GOP Congressman Who Voted for Infrastructure, Impeachment Hangs onto Leadership Role, Still Being Primaried

AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

On Wednesday, Rep. John Katko (R-NY) managed to avoid being stripped of his leadership position as the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee. As Mark Weiner reported for Syracuse.com, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) brought forth such a resolution. The vote came after the congressman voted in favor of passing the infrastructure bill earlier this month. Katko has been in the news quite a bit, especially when it comes to his voting record on the infrastructure bill, and more. 

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In a recent statement, former President Donald Trump called on "good and SMART America First Republican Patriots" to step up and serve as primary challengers to engage in "Saving America [which] starts by saving the GOP from RINOs, sellouts, and known losers!" 

One of those members is Rep. Katko. He voted for articles of impeachment against Trump in January and also voted in favor of the infrastructure bill earlier this month, which passed thanks to Republican support. Katko has recently received a primary challenger, it turns out, neurosurgery physicians assistant Tim Ko.

A press release from Ko, who is a first-time candidate, explains how Katko influenced his run. 

"When people ask me who actually influenced me most to run for Congress, I say John Katko. He has been unfaithful to his oath of office and to the voters who supported him. His voting record is atrocious. He promised he was going to go to Washington to cut spending. Yet, here he is voting for budgets that are putting our country further and further into debt," he said. 

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Three issues the candidate highlighted included Katko's vote for the Green New Deal funding, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would negatively impact freelance workers, and his "flip flopping" on funding border security. Rep. Katko also voted for the so-called Equality Act. 

In a statement to Townhall, Ko further outlined how he does not believe Katko is serving the district. 

"I decided to primary Rep. John Katko before he voted for this green corporate give away. His vote is just one of many over the years that has betrayed the values of Central New Yorkers and the country. The government will need to borrow and print more money. This will inevitably lead to more out of control inflation. We can’t afford John Katko betraying our interests down in Washington," he said. 

Ko also has the backing of the Onondaga County Conservative Party, as Khaleda Rahman reported for Newsweek: 

Katko's vote to impeach Trump led the Onondaga County Conservative Party to say they would not back Katko's reelection.

It caught Trump's attention and he sent the party's chairman, Bernie Ment, a handwritten note penned over a news article about it. "A great move—Katko will never win again," Trump wrote. "I won big in area. Will help with campaign—find a great candidate."

...

According to Syracuse.com, Ment has personally endorsed Ko and said he would back him when the party's executive committee meet later this month to discuss candidates for the party's ballot line.

"He has strong conservative principles. He's pro-Trump. He's pro-gun. He's pro-life," Ment said. "At the end of the day those are the three issues we're very passionate about in the Conservative Party."

Ko has filed a formal statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. He said his goal is to raise $100,000 in campaign donations by the end of 2021.

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Rep. Katko was first elected in 2014, when he beat incumbent Rep. Dan Maffei, a Democrat, 59.5 percent to Maffei's 40.3 percent. 

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