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RealClearPolitics Politics Nation Blog

 

Blog Home Page --> House -- New York -- 24

Good News For NY GOP

In a district Republicans thought might be out of reach for the foreseeable future, the GOP has recruited a potential self-funder to take on freshman Democrat Michael Arcuri. Republicans got their candidate yesterday when wealthy businessman Richard Hanna announced his candidacy, the Associated Press reported. Incumbent Democrat Arcuri won the seat in 2006, following the retirement of Republican Sherwood Boehlert, who represented the district for 24 years.

Hanna has been considering a run for a number of months now. He formed an exploratory committee in November, but had been non-committal about the race until this morning. Like Arcuri, Hanna grew up in Utica, the largest city of the J-shaped 24th District, located in central New York.

Boehlert had a moderate voting record in the House and eventually retired in 2006 after consistently facing primary challenges from more conservative candidates. Likewise, the district has swing potential: President Bush won 53% of the district's vote in 2004 and won it by just 1 point in 2000. In 2006, Arcuri defeated Republican Ray Meier 54%-45%, spending $2.2 million. Through the end of March, Arcuri raised $900,000 and has $600,000 left in the bank. Hanna has yet to file a finance report with the FEC.

"We believe there is an opportunity here," NRCC press secretary Ken Spain told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. "This is a moderate district that wants moderate representation that will embody change, and so far Michael Arcuri has offered none of the above."

While Arcuri will go into November as a strong favorite, Hanna's entrance into the race shows Republican potential on two fronts: First, given his independent wealth, Hanna could largely self-fund his race, something the underfunded party needs at a time when their cash disparity with national Democrats is so large.

Second, Republicans won't win seats back if they don't compete in districts like Arcuri's. The GOP has had some recruitment successes this year, but dozens of Democratic members in what are, or could be, swing districts will run in November without serious opposition. The NRCC can't commit financial resources everywhere, but just by running a strong candidate, they could get lucky in a few contests.

-- Kyle Trygstad