Rep. John Katko, RN.Y., speaks during a news conference following a House Republican meeting in Washington on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
Caroline Brehman | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
A Republican Congressman who voted for the charges against former President Donald Trump is being recruited to run for New York governor next year.
Rep. John Katko has not ruled out walking, said these people, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the private nature of the conversations.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is under fire over several scandals. Several women have accused him of sexual harassment, which he denies while his government is under investigation for handling Covid-19 death dates. The Democratic governor has turned down calls to step down and is on track to run for a fourth term.
Katko, who has called for Cuomo’s resignation, is a prominent member of the House Republican Caucus. He is the senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and may be named chair if the GOP Republicans retake the house during the 2022 midterm elections.
But Katko could again run into stumbling blocks running for Congress: there is the possibility of backlash within his own party for his impeachment vote, and he represents a swing district. Katko’s campaign raised over $ 400,000 in the first quarter and has over $ 580,000 to go through April, according to records by the Federal Election Commission.
The race in his district, the 24th in New York, is slated to be a litter next year, according to analysts at Cook Political Report. The district, which includes Syracuse, is one of at least 17 Republican races that are considered competitive. President Joe Biden won Katko’s district against former President Donald Trump with just under 9 points.
Republicans won last year’s House of Representatives elections and are just a handful of seats away from becoming a majority.
Press representatives for Katko’s convention bureau and the 2022 re-election campaign did not return repeated requests for comments.
The recruitment surge for Katko shows that members of the GOP are looking for a more moderate candidate for the highest office in a traditionally democratic state. New York GOP MP Lee Zeldin has already announced his candidacy for governor. Andrew Giuliani, son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has said he could run on the Republican ticket.
Zeldin, Giuliani and others are due to speak for nationwide contenders at the New York Republican meeting in Albany on Monday, according to a person briefed on the matter. MEP Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., who has not publicly ruled out running for governor in 2022, is also on the list of speakers. Katko is not expected to attend, this person added.
Katko is chairman of the moderate republican government group. His vote shows that he’s not necessarily a hardliner either. While Katko pushed back certain parts of the Affordable Care Act, in 2015 he did not vote to repeal it entirely. Katko later voted against the Affordable Care Act, the Republican’s replacement for the ACA, which passed the House but not received it by the Senate.
Cuomo has said he wants to run for a fourth term despite the exam.
The poll is mixed for Cuomo. A March poll by Morning Consult shows that 53% of New York voters approve of Cuomo. However, a Quinnipiac poll conducted last month found that over 60% of enrolled registered New York voters would prefer Cuomo to stop running in 2022.