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GOP Rep. John Katko, Who Voted to Impeach Trump, Being Recruited to Run for Governor of New York

Caroline Brehman | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
  • Rep. John Katko has not ruled out running, sources said.
  • He faces a potentially tough reelection campaign in New York's 24th Congressional District.

A Republican congressman who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump is being recruited to run for New York governor next year, according to people briefed on the matter.

Rep. John Katko has not ruled out running, said these people, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the private nature of the conversations.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under fire for multiple scandals. Several women have accused him of sexual harassment, which he denies, while his administration is under investigation for its handling of Covid-19 death data. The Democratic governor has refused calls to resign and has been 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 ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, potentially putting him in line to be chairman if the GOP Republicans retake the House during 2022's midterm elections.

But Katko could face stumbling blocks running for Congress again: There is the potential for 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 on hand going into April, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The race in his district, New York's 24th, is pegged as a toss up next year, according to the analysts at Cook Political Report. The district, which includes Syracuse, is one of at least 17 House Republican races deemed competitive. President Joe Biden won Katko's district over former President Donald Trump by close to 9 points.

Republicans made gains in the House during last year's election and are only a handful of seats away from becoming the majority.

Press representatives for Katko's congressional office and 2022 reelection campaign did not return repeated requests for comment.

The recruitment push for Katko shows that members of the GOP are seeking a more moderate contender for the highest office in a traditionally Democratic state. Fellow New York GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin has already declared his candidacy for governor. Andrew Giuliani, son of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, has said he might run on the Republican ticket.

Zeldin, Giuliani and others are set to speak at Monday's New York Republican meeting in Albany for statewide contenders, according to a person briefed on the matter. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who has publicly not ruled out running for governor in 2022, is also on the speakers list. Katko is not expected to attend, this person added.

Katko is chair of the moderate Republican Governance Group. His voting record indicates he isn't necessarily a hardliner, either. While Katko has pushed back on certain pieces of the Affordable Care Act, he voted no on repealing it in its entirety in 2015. Katko later voted against the Affordable Health Care Act, the Republican's replacement for the ACA that passed the House but failed to get through the Senate.

Cuomo has said he wants to run for a fourth term despite being under scrutiny.

Polling is mixed for Cuomo. A Morning Consult poll from March shows that 53% of New York voters approve of Cuomo. Yet a Quinnipiac poll taken last month says that over 60% of the registered New York voters surveyed would prefer for Cuomo to not run again in 2022.

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