SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A House Republican who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump announced he will not seek reelection.
Representative John Katko (R-24th C.D.) was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Syracuse office before he ran for the 24th Congressional District seat in 2014. Katko defeated defeat U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei, a Democrat, by 20 points that year and has been returned to office every two years since.
Katko reportedly said in a statement he will not seek a fifth term because he wants to spend more time with his family.
“My conscience, principles, and commitment to do what’s right have guided every decision I’ve made as a member of Congress, and they guide my decision today,” he said.
His impeachment vote was enough to infuriate Trump supporters but the New Yorker added more fuel to their fire. Katko negotiated with House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson on forming the Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Katko is the ranking minority member of the Homeland Security Committee.
He also voted in favor of President Biden’s infrastructure bill.
NY1’s Washington Correspondent Kevin Frey noted on Twitter he received an email from the former president: “Great news, another one bites the dust. Katko, from Upstate New York, is gone!”
There is good evidence, however, that Trump saying “Katko must go” was not the deciding factor in the retiring legislators’ decision.
New York must re-draw congressional district boundaries before this year’s midterms because the state lost a representative due to a population decrease recorded in the 2010 census.
Campaign staff reportedly denied retirement rumors last year, noting he raised record amounts of money in a non-election year. He had more than $1.2 million cash on hand as of Oct. 1, according to a Syracuse.com report.
Monday, both houses of N.Y.’s legislature rejected the congressional and state legislative redistricting plans submitted by the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission.
“It is likely the legislature could pick up where the IRC left off and draw its own maps for the next decade,” said New York Law School Fellow Jeffrey Wice.
Democrats control the state House, Senate, and Executive Office so — N.Y. politics being what it — redistricting is expected to add many more registered Democrat voters to the 24th C.D. in an effort to pick up a congressional seat in a year where control of the house may tilt towards Republicans.
So, even if Katko survived a bruising primary against the two challengers who have already joined the race for his seat, he would face an uphill battle to sway enough voters of the opposite party.
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