Democrats’ road to a House majority could have run through New York, but with freshman GOP Rep. John Katko expanding his lead in the 24th District, picking up a handful of seats in the Empire State looks harder.
Katko led Democrat Colleen Deacon by 23 points, 54 percent to 31 percent, in a Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll released Thursday. That’s a jump from the 19-point lead the GOP congressman held three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Democrat Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump by 10 points in the presidential race in the district, 44 percent to 34 percent. The 24th is a Democratic district that President Barack Obama twice carried by double digits. The fundamentals of the district earned Katko an early spot on Roll Call’s list of the top 10 most vulnerable incumbents.
But his strength in the district moved him off the list this month. Katko had refused to back Trump throughout the summer and fall. After the release of a 2005 tape in which Trump bragged about groping and kissing women, Katko called on the GOP nominee to step aside, saying he would not vote for him.
That hasn’t stopped Democrats from trying to tie Katko to Trump. In an ad released this week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee accused Katko of jumping on “the Trump bandwagon.“
But a quarter of Democrats and more than half of independents surveyed in the poll said they would vote for Katko.
Katko had a 52 percent favorable and 31 percent unfavorable rating. Deacon, a former aide to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, had a 31 percent favorable and 38 percent unfavorable rating. Republicans have been hammering her on national security.
Siena College polled 673 likely voters via landlines and cell phones from Oct. 18 to 19. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
Deacon slightly outraised Katko during the three-month Federal Election Commission reporting period that ended on Sept. 30. She raised $582,000 to his $525,000, but the congressman has much more cash on hand.
The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race Tilts Republican.