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Maffei challenges Katko to "straightforward campaign"

Ryan Delaney/WRVO and Katko for Congress
Left: Rep. Dan Maffei (file photo); right: John Katko (provided photo).

Rep. Dan Maffei has called on his Republican challenger to sign a pledge vowing to run a "clean campaign." That challenger, John Katko, agrees with the notion, but has decided to raise Maffei's offer.

Maffei, D-Syracuse, sent the pledge to Katko this week, saying the two should reject campaign contributions from "shady" outside groups that hide their donors. They should run "an honest, straightforward campaign," Maffei wrote.

Katko, a former federal prosecutor, responded today, saying he "couldn't agree more." 

"Regarding the use of campaign resources, please know that my campaign and I will continue to comply with the law just as I have during my entire career as a Federal prosecutor," Katko wrote.

But Katko didn't sign the actual pledge. He did, though, ask for something more.

He told Maffei that in the spirit of running an open campaign, he should agree to a series of debates. Katko suggested dates starting in June and running through late October, when Congress isn't in session. 

A spokesman for Maffei said in a statement that the congressman looks forward to debates similar to those he participated in during his 2012 rematch with then Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle.

Maffei campaign manager Kane Miller said this in a statement:

It's disappointing that John Katko refused to sign the 'Central New York Clean Campaign Pledge' and won’t commit to an honest campaign without influence from outside groups that do not disclose their donors... [Maffei] looks forward to highlighting his focus on growing the economy and strengthening the middle class in fair debates like the ones he participated in during the 2012 campaign that aired on every broadcast station in Central New York.

In his last campaign, Maffei took part in a couple of debates, but declined requests to several more, including ones organized by Buerkle.

In their most recent campaign finance filings, Maffei had about $1.1 million in cash on hand, compared to Katko's roughly $101,000.

The Katko campaign is not in a position to potentially give away thousands of dollars in contributions it's yet to collect, a Katko campaign staff member told WRVO.