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Politics and Government
Coverage of central and northern New York's congressional races, including the primary races and the general election.Races covered include the 24th Congressional District, currently held by Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who is running for reelection; the 22nd Congressional District, currently held by Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld), who is retiring; and the 21st Congressional District, currently held by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro).

Hanna says he won't support Trump or Cruz in general election

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Ryan Delaney
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WRVO News File Photo
Central New York Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) said he won't support Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz or businessman Donald Trump in the New York state primary or the general election.

As many national GOP leaders are calling on Republicans to vote for Sen. Ted Cruz in the presidential contest to stop front runner Donald Trump, central New York Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) said "without equivocation" he will not support either of those candidates in New York's presidential primary on April 19 or in the general election. 

"Ted Cruz shut down the government. That's his one accomplishment," Hanna said, referencing the senator's attempts to strip funding from the Affordable Care Act in 2013 that led to a standoff between Congress and the White House.

Hanna also said he wouldn't vote for Cruz in the primary or general election because he finds him to be intolerant. As for Trump, Hanna said he is offended by the real estate mogul's speech.
 

"Do you really want these two men, one [Cruz] who said he would turn the Middle East to glass or another [Trump] one who thinks it's even rational to try to deport 11 million people, to build a wall and have the Mexicans pay for it," Hanna asked. "Ted Cruz wants to patrol Muslim nieghborhoods, that's downright Orwellian and ridiculous on its face."

Hanna said the other Republican candidate in the presidential race, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, is the most reasonable and thoughtful. He said Kasich has been a gentlemen in what has otherwise been a vulgar and mean campaign. It's the culmination of what he calls "the requiem of a political party."

"This party used to be the party of common sense, conservatism and it's become ideologically strangled, a victim of its own extremes," Hanna said. "The closet bigotry, and not so closeted bigotry, all of it I'm deeply offended by."

That partisanship has leaked into the Supreme Court nomination fight according to Hanna. President Barack Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C., to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, but some Senate Republicans are vowing not to consider him. Instead, they want to wait until a new president is elected later this year. Hanna said the senate should fulfill its constitutional duty to at least consider Garland.

"Well, they don't have to appoint anybody," Hanna said. "They can have hearings, they can meet their responsibility -- although some people say it isn't theirs, but I believe it is -- the president should nominate, they should have hearings and we should be doing doing our job."

22nd Congressional district

Hanna, who has announced he will retire later this year, said he isn't supporting any of the candidates who have jumped into the race yet. Although, he did say that he is supportive of an outsider, mentioning Cazenovia businessman Steve Wells and Binghamton's George Philipps.

"You have someone who has been in government largely their adult life, run for many offices -- Ms. [Claudia] Tenney," Hanna said. "I would pick an outsider who doesn't need a job, who is doing it for the right reasons."

Tenney, who represents New Hartford and Paris in the New York State Assembly, nearly beat Hanna in a 2014 primary battle.