Arguably one of the most influential democrats in the country, Bill Clinton make a stop in Syracuse to stump for Dan Maffei in the 24th Congressional district. Maffei is vying for the seat against incumbent Republican Ann Marie Buerkle and Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum. Our Katie Gibas was at Clinton's endorsement speech and tells us what this big name endorsement means for the race as a whole.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It was just short of pandemonium as former President Bill Clinton took the stage to endorse Dan Maffei.
"Don't let them have your future because you wish things were better today. The only thing you can do is make things better tomorrow. And that means voting for Dan Maffei and President Obama. Thank you and God Bless you!" said Clinton.
Clinton took the stage for about 40 minutes. He's the biggest name to endorse any of the candidates so far.
"Bill Clinton is very impressive. He tells it like it is," said Sam Sammarco, a Camillus resident.
Shawnteica Carter, a DeWitt resident, added, "He was a very successful president in my opinion, so just to see that he's out and that he supports Dan, I think we all needed to see that."
This isn't the first time Clinton has stumped for Maffei. Clinton endorsed the then-congressman two years ago when he was trying to hold off a challenge from Republican Ann Marie Buerkle. This time around, the roles are reversed and it's Buerkle trying to hold onto her Congressional seat.
"You don't have to vote against his opponent. You can vote for him. His ideas are so much better. But you know what the difference is between the way he would go forward with the debt and promote growth than what they would do because she's already voted on it," said Clinton.
Last month a Sienna poll had Maffei and Buerkle tied for 43 percent of the vote, with Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum pulling seven percent. The rest were undecided.
"I think it's a very close race. But it shouldn't be because they're so different on their issues," said Alex Moore, a Liverpool resident.
Burkle's campaign sent YNN a statement in response to Clinton's endorsement saying:
"Bill Clinton campaigned for Dan Maffei two years ago, and it didn't make any difference. This election is between Ann Marie Buerkle and Dan Maffei and we're confident the voters will select Ann Marie - just like they did two years ago when they kicked Dan Maffei out of office."
A correction to that statement is that there is a third candidate, Ursula Rozum from the Green Party.
Rozum responded to the Clinton endorsement saying:
"Former President Clinton represents exactly why I am running as a progressive alternative to Dan Maffei, a conservative corporate-financed New Democrat like President Clinton was. These self-styled New Democrats have not rejected the extremely conservative policies of the Newt Gingriches and Anne Marie Buerkles of the Republican Right. They have only offered more moderate versions of these same conservative policies."
All highlighting three very different stances in a race that appears to be coming down to the wire.