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Rep. John Katko will not run for a 5th term

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Syracuse-area Congressmember John Katko announced Friday he won’t seek re-election in 2022. Katko said in a Facebook post the reason for his retirement is so he can enjoy more time with his family.

"Representing Central New York in Congress — solving real problems, and relentlessly championing bipartisanship — has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime. It is with profound gratitude for my colleagues, staff, supporters, team, and the people of New York's 24th Congressional District that I am thrilled to begin this next and best chapter of my life alongside Robin and our family,” he said in his statement.

Katko, a Republican, has represented New York's 24th District in Congress for four terms. He is the 3rd GOP representative who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump to announce they will not run for another term.

Requests for an interview with Katko were not returned.

Katko's decision probably caught a lot of people by surprise. Syracuse University Political Science professor Grant Reeher says Katko had lots of potential: He had amassed a significant record of accomplishments, and was poised for a top leadership position if the GOP took back the House. At the same time, Reeher says there are other political realities.

"Being a moderate in that party, or frankly, being a moderate in either party is difficult right now in Congress. The hassle of that, and that's putting it kindly, over the years, even pre-Trump, has got to have built up an accumulated frustration."

Reeher says it’s too simplistic to suggest he’s being drummed out by Trump supporters. His decision also appears to be sparked by some life-changing events. Katko said in his statement that he and his wife lost all four of their parents in the past three years, and wants to enjoy his family and life in a fuller and more present way. His pending departure comes at a time when the state is re-drawing district lines, and has to eliminate a congressional district. Reeher says the 24th becomes a prime target.

"What's more relevant now is how the other districts around the 24th are going to be affected by the fact that it's likely that the 24th is going to get carved up, and what do we see in its place. This is going to be the place where map drawers now are going to be less constricted in what they can do."

Reeher says that’s because incumbents traditionally lobby to protect their turf. The open seat obviously means it’s open season for candidates from both parties to come forward. Reeher says it’ll be interesting to see how potential candidates and the potential district will match up.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at