Katko will not seek reelection, citing personal perspective shifts

Representative John Katko speaks during the House Committee on Homeland Security meeting on Capitol Hill, July 22, 2020. | Andrew Harnick / AP Photo

By Anna Grunewald


ALBANI, New York – Republican Representative John Katko, the 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 will not run for another term for the state’s 24th congressional district, which has been competitive for some time. The boundaries of the region this year are blurred as the state legislature works to finalize new lines in the coming weeks.

Katko, 59, attributed the selection to personal priority shifts, and said his parents and mother, Robin, had all died over the past three years.

“To say those agonizing times have provided me with a life-altering perspective is an understatement,” he said. “I am delighted to begin this next and best chapter of my life alongside Robin and our family,” he added.

Katko has walked an increasingly narrow path for the better part of the past decade, constantly promoting bipartisanship in a region that has swung right and left, regardless of the presidential vote.

Catko, who was first elected in 2014, is one of Washington’s most centrist and transient lawmakers.

Trump praised Katko’s departure.

“Great news, another bites the dust. Catko, from upstate New York is gone!” He said in a statement.

Early last year, he was the first of the 10 Republican House members to vote to impeach Trump, losing the support of many state and local governors and gaining criticism from both Trump and many of his fellow Republicans.

But he easily won re-election in a district that 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 county, which stretches across Syracuse and into the surrounding rural counties, has about 20,000 more Democrats than Republicans.

I first met John Katko in the year 14 when we were new candidatesRepresentative Elise Stefanik wrote on Twitter.

“No one thought any Republican could win in his district. Not only has he won, he’s won by a landslide ever since. John is one of the most effective members of his constituents. He and Robin will always be good friends.”

However, he made Katko a 13th House Republican to say he will retire or look for another position this year.

Further waiving any certainty Katko might have in his quest to remain in Congress: The region could withstand the harsher effects of redistricting than some of its neighbors, making it more feasible for Democrats to take it back.

With its various iterations, the region has flipped between Democratic and Republican representatives.

A set of maps proposed by Democrats on the Independent State Redistricting Committee placed Katko and fellow Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney in the same area. New York is losing one seat in the House of Representatives, from 27 to 26 seats next year.

Potential new maps, which have not yet been approved, may signal a starting point as New York Democrats shift congressional boundaries to offset the upcoming loss of a seat.

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