Less than a thousand votes separated them in 2010 and two years later, the rematch between Dan Maffei and Ann Marie Buerkle in the new 24th Congressional District is expected to be just as close. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman gives us a preview of this hotly contested race as we continue our look at Congressional contests across the state.
NEW YORK STATE -- Two years ago, Republican Ann Marie Burekle won an upset election against Democratic Congressman Dan Maffei. Now, after losing by only 648 votes, Maffei is back to challenge Buerkle. The Central New York race has national implications for control of the House of Representatives.
Buerkle said, “The issues are the same. It's jobs and the economy. It's similar to the last time but being the incumbent I think is certainly an advantage because now we have a record and all the things we've done for the district.”
Buerkle is a top target of House Democrats in part due to her narrow victory against Maffei, but also her conservative voting record.
“My voting record has been independent of any establishment parties. My voting record has been what's best for Upstate New York,” Buerkle said.
Maffei has tried to link Buerkle to national Republicans, including House budget committee chairman and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, whose spending plan proposed an overhaul of Medicare.
Maffei said, “You're not seeing the budget balanced at best until 2040 under the Buerkle-Ryan budget is because that money doesn't go to balancing the budget. It goes to giving more tax breaks to the very, very wealthy.”
And it's not just economic issues. The Democrat's campaign released an ad noting Buerkle signed on to a controversial measure designed to end taxpayer funding for abortions that at one point included language on "forcible rape."
“As she co-sponsored and when she spoke in favor of it, it had this language that would have parsed raped victims in to different categories and I just think that's deplorable,” Maffei said.
A Siena College poll in September showed a dead heat with each candidate receiving 43 percent. But there's also a sizable number of voters in the 24th district who back the Republican Buerkle and also want to re-elect President Obama.
“This race is not so much about ideology among those swing voters, those ticket splitters. It's much more about the people themselves,” Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg said.