The talk is mostly over. Now it’s time to vote.
Election day is here, and it’s believed that voter turnout across the nation could be one of the highest since the mid-1960s, with Republicans looking to defend their majorities in the House and Senate.
Democrats have other ideas, but most political observers believe their best shot at a majority is in the House, where there are a number of districts in play.
Local Democrats Tracy Mitrano and Dana Balter are hoping they can bring home victories for their party in the 23rd and 24th congressional districts, respectively.
However, both have tough Republican opponents. Mitrano faces off against Corning’s Tom Reed, who is seeking his fifth term in Congress, while Balter is battling John Katko of Camillus, who is going for his third term.
On the road one final day
For the four congressional candidates, the work is not done, with all of them making last-minute campaign stops to encourage party faithful to make it to the polls today.
Reed said his campaign “is in its strongest position ever. We are grateful for the outpouring of grassroots, volunteer and financial support we have received from our hardworking neighbors and are taking nothing for granted as we approach Election Day. … Our team is knocking on hundreds of doors and making thousands of phone calls every day to share our message of common-sense, bipartisan leadership with the voters.”
Mitrano, in the midst of her 23 for 23 Get Out The Vote Tour — a 23-stop journey across New York’s 23rd District — said she is energized as well.
“I entered this race because I believe that our elected representative was not doing enough to serve the people of his district,” Mitrano said. “I’ve run on a platform of bringing economic opportunity to this area, of investing in the resources, like access to healthcare, education, and infrastructure, that working and middle class people here so desperately need.”
Reed pointed to what he called “cheap political shots my opponent has taken at me and my family,” apparently in reference to a story about a medical bill debt-collection company founded by Reed called RR Resource Recovery that is now owned by his wife. Intercept, an online news publication that produces what it calls “adversarial journalism,” claims Reed’s firm harassed people in his own district for medical debts they never had or had resolved.
The Reed campaign blamed the story on Mitrano, whose campaign last week sent a link to the piece to area news organizations, including the Finger Lakes Times. On Monday, her campaign posted a video featuring a man who recounted his debt-collection story that he claimed was related to RR Resource Recovery.
But Mitrano had some political fallout to deal with as well. While the Democrat was in the midst of her district tour, she had to deal with a controversial Instagram posting by a now-former staff member that was disclosed by the Reed campaign over the weekend. The Instagram post stated “(Expletive) Tom Reed, (expletive) cops, (expletive) Capitalism, (expletive) Trump.”
Mitrano asked for her resignation, but the Reed campaign took full advantage of the situation.
“It’s stunning that a paid member of Tracy Mitrano’s staff and a spokesperson for her campaign would make such hateful and offensive statements,” said Abbey Daugherty, communications director for Reed’s campaign.
Balter, Katko make their cases
In the 24th District, Balter and Katko, also involved in some contentious back-and-forth during the campaign, stated their cases without alluding to their opponents.
“For the past four years I’ve had the high honor of representing our community in Congress,” said Katko. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished — including growing our local economy, working to address the harmful impacts of Plan 2014, and standing up for farmers and growers in our region. From now until Election Day, I’ll be visiting with folks in Wayne, Onondaga, Cayuga and Oswego counties and working to get out the vote. I know we still have work to do in Congress, and I humbly ask for your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6.”
Said Balter: “We’re fighting hard the last few days of the campaign to encourage voters to head to the polls on Tuesday,” she said. “Our team has been crisscrossing the district, talking to voters about the issues that matter most to them like healthcare, improving our local economy, and protecting Social Security and Medicare. Our volunteers are mobilized, and we’re hearing and seeing a lot of enthusiasm in the 24th District. I’m excited to finish this campaign strong, and I look forward to the change I believe this district will usher in on Tuesday.”