The former federal prosecutor walked into the studio with a bit of wonder. Republican congressional candidate John Katko wondered where were all the studio crew members. The man who spent more than fifteen years locking up gang members in highly publicized cases admitted he was not typically the guy getting the attention. We explained how our cameras are operated robotically and the days of personnel in the studio are several years in the past.
The republican party's freshly designated candidate to challenge 24th District Representative Dan Maffei appeared quite comfortable in his new political role. He has already been through the intra-party ringer. Katko explained to us how he personally called all 800 members of the republican committee's across the four Central New York counties that make up the district. He had to introduce himself and make his case why they should cast their ballot for him.
It worked. He trounced the competition. Out of a field of eight choices he rose head and shoulders above the others. By establishing that separation he may have fended off a potential republican primary which would have sapped financial resources in the attempt to unseat the incumbent democrat.
Back in the studio, we helped Katko clip on his microphone, powder his forehead and advised him to have a conversation with us while occassionally acknowledging the audience and the cameras. He performed as if that advice was academic that he had done it all before. The years as a prosecutor of questioning suspects and talking to judges and juries has prepared him well.
He said the rising debt our nation faces was the primary issue inspiring him to run. He left his government job to take the risk of running for office because he could no longer stand sitting idly by watching the disarray in Washington.
I asked him about the challenge of becoming an expert on issues he never considered before. For example the unrest and Russian troop movement in Ukraine. Katko is undeterred and plans to take the approach of a prosecutor taking on a new case where the facts must be learned and decisions made.
There is a long campaign to run, money to be raised and votes to be tallied, but it is already worth noting the republicans have made a credible choice to take on a congressman who has won two and lost two elections in a district fairly evenly divided between the parties.
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