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Political Update In Central New York



The Central New York congressional district centered around Syracuse has been one of the swingy-est districts in the country. It has leaned blue but has often elected Republicans. In a 2008 rematch, Democrat Dan Maffei, campaigning as a progressive, frightened off long-time conservative incumbent Jim Walsh and then flipped the seat from red to blue by 13 points. When he got to Congress he disappointed his supporters by joining the corrupt Wall Street owned and operated New Dems and he was narrowly defeated by far right extremist Ann Marie Buerkle in 2010. But she turned out to be so far right and so extreme that in 2012, Maffei came back and beat her by 5 points. He stuck to his conservative Democratic positions and 2 years later mainstream conservative John Katko beat him decisively, 59.9% to a pitiful 40.1%. The good news: the end of Dan Maffei (later nominated for a job by Trump); the bad news: the advent of John Katko, who is finally retiring this year, scared off by Trump.


Katko managed to hold the seat despite a Democratic advantage. That blue lean has now turned into a solid blue wall. In the newest redistricting, the seat went from D+4 to D+13. Even in a red wave election-- like the one developing now-- Republicans don't win D+13 districts. The winner of the Democratic primary, is likely to go to Congress next year. As you may know, Blue America endorsed the progressive in the race, Steven Holden, last summer. You can contribute to his campaign here.


Since the redistricting was finalized, one of the Republicans running, Christian Nationalist Tim Ko, dropped out and the number of Democrats has nearly doubled to seven candidates. The two Republicans left in their primary are Brandon Williams, a Trumpist sociopath, running an anti-"wokism" campaign and anti-Trump Tompkins County legislator Mike Sigler. Williams is guaranteed a place on the November ballot because he has been endorsed by the Conservative Party.


Most of the Democrats running are running Republican-lite campaigns that absolutely reek of the kind of crippling political fear that voters hate. Competing for the Republican-lite vote are Francis Conole, Sarah Hood,

Chol Majok, who is just trying to get his name recognition up for a Syracuse mayoral bid, former state Assemblyman and Cuomo appointee Sam Roberts, progressive Green New Deal advocate Vanessa Fajans-Turner. She and Holden are running mutually supportive campaigns and if one drops out, he or she will probably work to help elect the other.

The final candidate is the slimiest politician this side of the GQP-- Josh Riley, the DC estabishment’s dream candidate, although he has never lived in the district, but does live in a DC mansion, which is where he has asked people to send his contributions. He was planning to run against right-wing nut Claudia Tenney but when redistricting turned NY-22 into blue district, he declared his candidacy for that "easy" seat.


Riley's shady DC firm represented Palantir, which was the DHS contractor during the Trump Regime doing surveillance that was responsible for separating children at the Mexican border. The bosses there called Riley the "go to" man when it came to representing thee sleaziest corporations, especially the one in Big Tech facing congressional scrutiny, like Uber, Lyft, Amazon, Google... which have chipped in over $80,000 to his congressional campaign so far. They also represented Harvey Weinstein-- but not just in the normal way attorneys represent clients. They have been credibly accused of working with operatives to smear Weinstein's accusers.

The Working Families Party has a good name nationally, but in New York State, they have long stood for the worst kind of transactional political corruption that Working Family parties around the country eschew and campaign against. The NY Working Families Party is as likely to back the worst Democrat as they are to back the best Democrat. They are as utterly useless as the DCCC is. And, of course, they endorsed Riley, even though the local chapter begged them not to. Riley will run on the WFP line in November and may serve as a spoiler if he doesn't win the Democratic nomination.



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