Eye on NY: Outside spending in race between John Katko, Colleen Deacon exceeds $3M

October 23, 2016 GMT

U.S. Rep. John Katko and Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon have raised and spent millions in the 24th Congressional District race.

They aren’t alone.

Outside groups with an interest in the outcome of the contest have also invested significant sums of money. Much of that has been spent on television ads or other efforts opposing either of the candidates.

According to Federal Election Commission records, $3.27 million has been spent on the general election race by four outside groups. The leading spender has been the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has expended $1,134,795.06 as of Saturday.

The runner-up isn’t the DCCC’s counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee. It’s the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC tied to House GOP leadership.

The Congressional Leadership Fund has spent $1,070,145.10 on ads and canvassing in the 24th District race, records show. The NRCC’s expenditures total $865,849.89.

The American Hospital Association PAC, which is airing ads supporting Katko, R-Camillus, has spent an estimated $200,091.88.

So far, both candidates have spent more than $1 million each on the race. As of Oct. 15, Katko’s disbursements totaled $1.49 million in the 2016 election cycle. Deacon, D-Syracuse, who first had to win her party’s nomination in the June primary, has spent $1.08 million since entering the race in October 2015.

Among New York’s House districts, the 24th has the third-most outside investments. Outside groups, namely the DCCC and NRCC, have spent nearly $7.5 million on the 19th Congressional District race, which features Democratic candidate Zephyr Teachout squaring off against Republican nominee John Faso.

The nearby 22nd Congressional District has also seen an influx of outside money. Groups have spent more than $5.7 million supporting or opposing the three candidates in that contest — Democrat Kim Myers, Republican Claudia Tenney and Upstate Jobs Party candidate Martin Babinec.

Two years ago, outside groups spent more than $4.4 million on the 24th Congressional District. That ended up being one of the most expensive campaigns in the region’s history.

Whether this year’s election will top that total is unclear. Recent polling shows Katko with a 23-point lead over Deacon entering the final two weeks of the campaign. The DCCC and NRCC may begin to shift resources to other races if they determine that Katko is in position to win by a comfortable margin.


A programming note: With the congressional race and three competitive state legislative races, we’re planning to have four days worth of preview stories for each of the campaigns.

The stories will be published on auburnpub.com and in The Citizen.

The schedule, which is subject to change:

• Tuesday, Nov. 1: 126th Assembly District (Assemblyman Gary Finch vs. Democratic challenger Diane Dwire)

• Wednesday, Nov. 2: 51st Senate District (State Sen. Jim Seward vs. Democratic challenger Jermaine Bagnall-Graham)

• Thursday, Nov. 3: Recap of CNYCentral’s 24th Congressional District debate. It will be the second of three televised debates. The debate will first air at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2 on WSTM channel 3. It will air again at 8 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6 on WTVH channel 5.

• Friday, Nov. 4: 54th Senate District (Pam Helming vs. Kenan Baldridge vs. Floyd Rayburn)

• Sunday, Nov. 6: 24th Congressional District (U.S. Rep. John Katko vs. Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon)