Maffei cites Washington discord as reason to challenge Buerkle

Dan Maffei / file photo

Former Congressman Dan Maffei has decided to make a fourth run for the 25th Congressional District.

Republican Ann Marie Buerkle upset the Democratic first term incumbent last November by a razor-thin margin. Maffei sounded optimistic about the future of the American and Central New York economies, and is announcing his bid to take back the seat as a self-described 'centrist' candidate.

The native Syracusan cited the discord in Washington this summer as the final motivation to enter the race. "It feels like a long long time since I've been in office and I think a lot has changed since then," said Maffei. "One of the things I learned is you can't solve anything by disruption and disagreement. You might gain some political points for a time, but the only way were going to solve our problems is to work together."

Maffei enters the race 14 months ahead of the election. It is not yet known how redistricting could reshape the voters who decide who represents Central New York in Congress in 2013. Maffei has some $100,000 in his campaign account, compared to double that for Rep. Buerkle. Both would have to raise much more to pay for what promises to be an expensive campaign.

Maffei's initial run for Congress was a narrow loss to longtime Republican Jim Walsh in 2006. At the time, Maffei's campaign benefited from a strong anti-Iraq war sentiment in the country. He now sees himself as more moderate than the Republican incumbent. "I believe Central New York is best represented by a centrist congressman, somebody who does work with all sides," the democrat said. "That's been me and all the predecessors in office republican and democrat. Now for the first time we have someone who follows a radical right wing ideology. That's why Central New York deserves an alternative and somebody who represents them in all their diversity."

Brianne Murphy is another Democrat who has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission, declaring her intention to run for the nomination in the 25th Congressional District.