Rep. John Katko, Colleen Deacon visit Auburn on election eve in race for Congress

November 7, 2016 GMT

AUBURN — On the eve of the election, the candidates in the 24th Congressional District race visited Cayuga County to make their final pitch to voters.

U.S. Rep. John Katko spent more than an hour Monday greeting corrections officers during the afternoon shift change at Auburn Correctional Facility. On the other side of the city, Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon stopped at the local Democratic headquarters to make phone calls as part of the party’s get-out-the-vote effort.

Two independent polls released by Time Warner Cable News and Siena College in October showed Katko, R-Camillus, with a large lead in the 24th District race. But neither candidate is ready to call the race.

“I feel like we’ve executed our game plan really well and we haven’t made any mistakes,” Katko said in an interview Monday. “We’re ready for tomorrow night. We’re optimistic.”

In conversations with voters, Katko said his campaign has received positive feedback. He feels the record he’s established during his first term in Congress made a difference.

“I think people really paid attention to that, and I think that’s important,” he said. “I’m proud of that.”

Deacon, D-Syracuse, is upbeat about her chances on Election Day. She noted that she’s been campaigning for 13 months and had to win a three-way Democratic primary before shifting her attention to Katko.

Democratic congressional candidate Colleen Deacon speaks at the Cayuga County Democratic Committee’s headquarters in Auburn Monday.

The primary, she said, allowed her to “build a great infrastructure.”

Like Katko, Deacon believes her message has resonated with voters.

“We’re hearing really positive responses from people who might not have been paying attention before and are now paying attention,” she said. “We’re just making sure that every last vote gets to the polls tomorrow. And we’re feeling good.”

Before coming to Auburn, both candidates spent time in other parts of the 24th Congressional District.

Deacon said she was in Oswego and Syracuse Monday for events prior to heading to Auburn. She plans to attend Election Day events in Onondaga County, including the Democrats’ election night watch party at Marriott Syracuse Downtown.

Katko and his campaign staff handed out coffee and donuts and rode The Big Yellow Fellow, which was a popular attraction at this year’s New York State Fair, around Armory Square in downtown Syracuse.

The polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday and will close at 9 p.m. for voters in the district, which includes all of Cayuga, Onondaga and Wayne counties, plus the western portion of Oswego County.

Katko will appear on four ballot lines — Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform. Deacon has the Democratic and Working Families party lines.