The GOP held onto another House seat Monday as the Associated Press projected New York’s John Katko to win re-election over opponent Dana Balter nearly a month after the voting took place.
Katko declared victory right after the election, and Syracuse.com had called the race for him on November 12 after calculating that Balter would have had to win all of them plus a majority of the 5,000 affidavit ballots to overcome Katko’s 44,700 lead at that point.
But Balter refused to concede the race until all of the absentee ballots were counted, which led the AP not to project a winner until Monday. Cook had called the race a toss-up prior to the election.
The race was a repeat of 2018, when Katko defeated Balter by 5 points. The win keeps the GOP House record pristine; not one GOP incumbent has lost yet in 2020.
It was a strong year for Republicans down ballot from President Donald Trump, and Katko’s reluctant endorsement of Trump may have propelled him across the finish line even if Trump himself doesn’t end up making it to a second term.
Like some other Republicans, Katko said in 2016 that he had not voted for Trump, but decided to endorse him in 2020 because his economic, trade, and tax policies benefitted Katko’s central New York constituents.
The 24th district in New York is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Katko was one of only 25 Republicans to win in a Clinton-held district.
Will Katko join Biden administration?
Katko was reportedly one of 30 Republicans the Joe Biden transition team was considering for a position in the administration, but Katko’s endorsement of Trump may have ruined his chances there.
In addition, Katko has also made comments about a Biden administration being bad for America — not so much because of Biden himself, but because of the more radical-left members of his team.
All of the lawmakers being considered received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship, including Katko.
Republicans would be loathe to let Katko go into a Biden administration, however, because of his proven ability to win his seat and keep it.
Who knows whether Republicans would be able to keep the seat in the special election that would follow Katko’s defection to the Biden team?