By DAN GUZEWICH Staff writer
Michael J. Kicinski Sr. wants to replace the man he helped elect to Congress two years ago.
Kicinski, a founder and coordinator of the Norwich Tea Party Patriots, is challenging Richard L. Hanna for the Republican nomination in the newly created 22nd District in Tuesday’s federal primary balloting. Registered Republicans can vote from noon to 9 p.m.
Kicinski, 53, of Earlville in Madison County, worked on Hanna’s 2010 campaign that resulted in a victory over two-term Democratic incumbent Michael A. Arcuri. Hanna, 61, of Barneveld, had never held public office before. He ran unsuccessfully against Arcuri in 2008.
Now, as it turns out, Hanna is not conservative enough for Kicinski, who is an electrical engineer although unemployed.
"We supported, campaigned, and voted for Mr. Hanna on his campaign words," Kicinski said. "But he has voted for every spending bill and voted three times to increase our debt limit, all the while not doing anything to bring real budget cuts and balance the budget."
Hanna says he brings to Congress real life experiences with a history of creating jobs, growing a business, and understanding how both the federal and state governments affect decisions of business owners. He founded and ran Hanna Construction for a number of years.
"Richard Hanna went to Washington to be part of the solution and that’s what his record shows," said spokeswoman Renee Gamela. "He has helped numerous upstate New Yorkers navigate federal agencies like Veterans, Social Security and Medicare."
She adds, "Richard has spent his life in the private sector working for the betterment of this community and he will continue to do so as our representative in Congress."
He has publicly explained every one of his votes in comments posted on social media.
Hanna has the advantage of incumbency, giving him tools and recognition that may drive up intensity among supporters going into the primary. Turnout in primaries is typically low.
Hanna has the backing of a minor party, the Independence Party. Thus, even if he loses the GOP nomination, his name will appear on the ballot Nov. 6. Candidates also can create independent party endorsements.
Waiting for the results of next week’s balloting is Democratic candidate Dan Lamb, 48, of Freeville in Tompkins County. He’d been an aide to retiring Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-22, Ulster County, for some 14 years until he resigned to run in the new 22nd District. Democrats need to pick up 25 seats to reclaim the House majority. The general election is Nov. 6.
The Cook Political Report sees the 22nd as "likely Republican" in the fall election. Races in this category are not considered competitive but have the potential to become engaged.
In 2010, Hanna won 53 percent of the vote, taking one of 63 seats recaptured by the GOP as the party regained the House majority.
The 22nd District includes all of Oneida, Chenango, Cortland and Madison counties, and part of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego and Tigoa counties. About half of Hanna’s current district, the 24th, is in the new district.
There are 165,909 registered Republicans in the district, according to the state Board of Elections. Oneida County has 50,515 enrolled Republicans, says GOP Elections Commissioner Pamela N. Mandryck. Oneida has the most Republicans of any county in the district.
Democrats number 132,074 districtwide, including 45,568 in Oneida County.