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Get out the vote efforts become focus in campaign's final hours

The candidates for central New York’s hotly contested seat in Congress spent their final day of the campaign rallying voter turnout.

Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei has a slight edge in registered Democrats over Republicans in the 24th Congressional District, but he’s struggled to get them to the polls in midterm elections during his previous campaigns. So Monday afternoon he visited his campaign phone bank.

"Now it’s all up to the grassroots and getting out the vote," he said. "That is going to deliver this race; that’s going to deliver a lot more races nationwide." 

Maffei brought his wife, Abby Davidson Maffei, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand with him. They were flanked by Democratic candidates for state Senate and Assembly in a crowded union hall on Syracuse's west side.

"It's an opportunity for each one of you here to fight for what you believe in," Gillibrand said. "To fight for the community that you want, a country that you want."

Gillibrand stressed campaign themes like raising the minimum wage, women’s rights, and protecting Social Security. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of Syracuse, Republican challenger John Katko greeted the lunch crowd at a Brooklyn Pickle deli. 

Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO
WRVO file photo
Congressional candidate John Katko greets voters at lunch Monday.

The former federal prosecutor said the GOP voter turnout efforts have caught up to Democrats’. 

"Very advanced, it’s fantastic," said Katko. "And I think we’re going to have a really good showing, I really do." 

Katko is wrapping up his first ever campaign. He says excitement and adrenaline have been keeping him awake at night. He’s happy with all the attention the race has drawn. 

"That means that you’re in the hunt, you’re in the race. So that’s good," he said. "I think it’s a compliment to where we are in the campaign."

The 24th Congressional District includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga and Wayne Counties, and the western portion of Oswego County. The race is one of the closest in the nation and has drawn a lot of attention in recent weeks.