A close race in 2008 between the two current candidates in New York’s 24th U.S. House race resulted in only a 4 percent difference between the two. This year is bound to be a rough one for Democrats, so incumbent Michael Arcuri is eager to prove he’s a moderate perfectly suited for the position. However, Republican Richard Hanna is a businessman with a plan to win this year in a rematch.
Candidates for New York’s 24th Congressional District (two-year term)
(This district includes all or parts of Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Oneida, Ontario, Otsego, Seneca, Tioga and Tompkins counties the cities of Utica, Rome, and Geneva are part of the district. See a boundary map here.)
Candidate: Michael Arcuri
Political experience: Arcuri is the representative for the 24th District and is serving his second term in office. He has served as district attorney of Oneida County.
Key issues: Arcuri has pledged to raise the minimum wage within the first 100 hours of Congress. According to his website, he wants to increase funding for the Firefighters Grant (AFG) program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program. The funding is intended to help first responders. He would also provide tax assistance for volunteer emergency responders.
He hopes to see the creation of an “Erie Canal of our time”, a high-speed rail to reduce fuel use and link upstate markets.
Endorsements: Arcuri has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, Cortland County Democrats and New York State AFL-CIO.
Chances of maintaining his seat: In the money race, Arcuri has a small advantage over Hanna, with $601,729 on hand to Hanna’s $500,070. He avoided the health care reform bill, which may help shield him somewhat, but his votes for TARP and the stimulus bill may hurt him. The race remains a toss-up at this time.
Candidate: Richard Hanna
Political experience: Hanna ran for this seat in 2008, gaining 48 percent of the vote.
Professional experience: Hanna is the owner and president of Hanna Construction and is a partner in Gabriel Group, a firm that owns apartments and other interests.
Key issues: Hanna’s website doesn’t go into much depth on the issues. He suggests that government growth is increasing too greatly and that it is a drain on the economy. He suggests that neither party is entirely right when it comes to the economy, saying that Democrats spend too much and Republicans may cut taxes, but they won’t cut spending. Hanna indicates he’d cut both taxes and spending.
Endorsements: Hanna has been endorsed by the Oneida County Republican Party and Chenango County GOP, Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) and the New York State Independence Party committee of Oneida, Herkimer and Cayuga.
Chances of unseating Michael Arcuri: Hanna came into the 2008 race late and still nearly managed to unseat Arcuri in a year that was very favorable for Democrats. This year is far less forgiving of Democrats in swing districts, but with neither candidate facing primaries they’ve been able to focus on one another. The large New York district is in play for a party change and Hanna hopes to benefit.
Key Differences between Richard Hanna and Michael Arcuri
Jobs: Arcuri voted for the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to protect consumers from predatory lending and to create better transparency. He feels the government can’t create jobs, but should create an environment to help create jobs. For his part, Hanna thinks deficits are going to hamper growth and creates stagnation. He wants to cut taxes and spending.
Health care: Hanna wants to see health care reform consist of malpractice liability laws and he’d like to see new policies that encourage individuals to pay for their own insurance through taxing policies. Arcuri sees a lack of insurance for Americans as a crisis. He voted against the Democrat’s health care reform bill, but wants to see bipartisan health care solutions enacted. He’s in favor of stem cell research.
Social Security: While both men agree that Social Security shouldn’t be privatized, Hanna wants the government to stop borrowing from Social Security to pay for programs. He wants money to be dedicated in funding it. Arcuri says that there are committees in place to figure out what to do before Social Security runs out and that he opposes raising the minimum age for Social Security eligibility to 70. He also suggests borrowing from Social Security is a mistake.
New York‘s 24th U.S. Congressional District
Location: The New York 24th District is part of upstate, central New York and includes the cities of Rome and Utica.
2008 results: Arcuri defeated Hanna 52 percent to 48 percent.
Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, 90.6 percent of the district is white, 3.5 percent black, 2.8 percent Hispanic, 1.3 percent Asian, and 0.2 percent American Indian and Alaska Native.
The Cook Partisan Index gives the New York 24th District a rating of R+2, awarding a slight edge to Republican voters in this district.