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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
Democrats like the matchup in this Democratic-leaning district, but as with candidates across the nation, the political climate will present challenges for Maffei.
He faces Ann Marie Buerkle, a thinly funded former Syracuse councilor, whose fundraising efforts trailed the incumbent by $1 million at the end of August.
But she's not fighting alone. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) helped her raise cash, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) endorsed Buerkle's candidacy, although it's unclear how well the Palin endorsement will play in a general election.
This is a district with a history of supporting Republicans, although it has trended toward Democrats in recent cycles, having supported President Barack Obama by 13 points in 2008.
The ethics problems of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) could come into play here.
A former aide under Rangel on the House Ways and Means Committee, Maffei said he considers Rangel a friend and has refused to return Rangel campaign donations from previous cycles that exceed $80,000.
District Profile from Politics in America
Syracuse, in the district's east, is the 25th's only major city and its economic hub. The district stretches west, roughly along Lake Ontario in the north and the Erie Canal in the south, from Onondaga County to reach most of Irondequoit in the Rochester suburbs. Syracuse and the Rochester area are home to diverse economies that rely on educational institutions to spur other industries. Small towns and farms fill much of the land between the two cities.
Seventy percent of the 25th's residents live in Onondaga County, which is home to Syracuse. Syracuse University and the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, both located in the city on University Hill, are the county's top two employers. Expansion at the Medical University is expected to be complete in 2013.
South of Syracuse, dairy and produce farms dot the landscape. The district also includes coastal and inland farming-based towns stretching from Moon Beach in the east to the banks of the Genesee River in the west. Many Rochester-area residents work in white-collar industries.
Minorities and blue-collar workers contribute to the Democratic vote in Syracuse, while GOP candidates get votes from conservatives scattered throughout the 25th, particularly in more lightly populated Wayne County, which voted for John McCain by a 10-percentage-point margin in the 2008 presidential election. The district as a whole gave 56 percent to Barack Obama.
Higher education, agriculture, health care
Syracuse, 145,170; Irondequoit (unincorporated) (pt.), 32,220
Syracuse University's Carrier Dome is the nation's largest on-campus domed stadium.
|2010||general||Ann Marie Buerkle (R)||104,602||50.1%|
|Dan Maffei (D)||103,954||49.8%|
|2008||general||Dan Maffei (D, WFM)||157,375||54.8%|
|Dale Sweetland (R, C)||120,217||41.9%|
|Howie Hawkins (GRP)||9,483||3.3%|
|2006||general||James Walsh (R, INDC, C)||110,525||50.8%|
|Dan Maffei (D, WFM)||107,108||49.2%|
|2004||general||James Walsh (R, INDC, C)||189,063||90.4%|
|Howie Hawkins (GREEN)||20,106||9.6%|
|2002||general||James Walsh (R, C, INDC)||144,610||72.3%|
|Stephanie Aldersley (D)||53,290||26.6%|
|Francis Gavin (WFM)||2,131||1.1%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 56%||John McCain: 43%|
|2004||John Kerry: 50%||George W. Bush: 48%|
|2000||Al Gore: 51%||George W. Bush: 45%|