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Katko will not seek re-election, citing personal perspective shifts

Rep. John Katko speaks during a House Homeland Security Committee meeting on Capitol Hill on July 22, 2020. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo



ALBANY, NY — Republican Representative John Katko, a four-term congressman from central New York who supported the impeachment of former President Donald Trump a year ago, will not seek re-election.

Katko announced in a statement Friday that he would not run for another term representing the state’s 24th congressional district, which has been competitive for some time. District boundaries this year are unclear as the state legislature works to finalize new lines in the coming weeks.

Katko, 59, attributed the choice to changes in personal priorities and said his parents and those of his wife, Robin, had all died within the past three years.

“To say that those heartbreaking moments provided me with a life-changing perspective is an understatement,” he said. “I am thrilled to begin this next and greatest chapter of my life alongside Robin and our family,” he added.

Katko has walked an increasingly narrow line for much of the past decade, constantly touting the bipartisanship in the district that has swung left and right regardless of its presidential vote.

Katko, first elected in 2014, is consistently considered one of Washington’s middle-of-the-road lawmakers.

Trump welcomed Katko’s departure.

“Good news, another bites the dust. Katko from upstate New York is gone!” he said in a statement.

Early last year, he was the first of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, losing him the support of many state and local conservatives and earning criticism from Trump and several of his colleagues. of the GOP.

But he still easily won re-election in a district President Joe Biden won by nine percentage points last year.

Some Republicans have praised Katko for continuing to win a Democratic-leaning seat, making him one of the few Republicans in the country who can consistently do so.

The district, which spans Syracuse and surrounding rural counties, has about 20,000 more Democrats than Republicans.

I first met John Katko in 14 when we were both new candidates“, Rep. Elise Stefanik wrote on Twitter.

“No one thought a Republican could win his district. Not only did he win, he’s won overwhelmingly since. John is one of the most effective MPs for his constituents. He and Robin will always be good friends. .”

However, Katko is telling the 13th Republican Chamber that he is retiring or seeking another position this year.

Further undermining any certainty Katko might have had in seeking to remain in Congress: The district could suffer harsher effects from the redistricting than some of its neighbors, which could make it more accessible to Democrats.

The district in its various iterations has flipped between Democratic and Republican representatives.

A set of maps proposed by Democrats on the Independent State Redistricting Commission place Katko and fellow GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney in the same district. New York loses a seat in the House, dropping from 27 to 26 seats next year.

The potential new maps, which have yet to be approved, could signal a starting point as New York Democrats reshuffle congressional boundaries to make up for the upcoming loss of a seat.


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