A freshman republican congressman is facing challenges on the right and left as he runs for his second term. YNN's Bill Carey says Richard Hanna is hoping there is still room for a moderate in Washington.
CORTLAND COUNTY, N.Y. – “It's pretty sad because there's so much that needs to be done and very little that's actually getting done,” representative Richard Hanna said.
Richard Hanna is facing a challenging summer and fall. Two years ago, he was a hero among republicans. With their backing and support of the Conservative Party, he won back a congressional seat held by democrat Michael Arcuri. Two years later, he faces criticism for what's turned out to be a moderate voting record.
Conservatives have withheld their support this time around and Hanna is facing a republican primary challenge from a tea party activist critical of his efforts to find compromise on key issues.
“Every time we compromise, we're pushed back further and further and we're losing more of our freedoms and liberties. No more compromise. Period,” said congressional candidate Michael Kicinski.
If he can survive the primary, Hanna still faces a challenge from democrat Dan Lamb, a long time aide to Congressman Maurice Hinchey.
As he wanders the new 22nd Congressional district, Richard Hanna knows he needs to find voters in the middle. Those not swayed by the far left or the far right.
“You know, I think both parties are owned by their extremes. It's not just the republicans and it's not just the democrats. You know, we planted our feet on certain issues in a way that, I think, is untenable. And so have the democrats. So, someplace the solutions are going to come out of that 70, 80 percent of people who don't fit those outer places,” Hanna said.
But in a polarized political atmosphere, is there a majority of voters "in the middle" that Hanna can count on for another term?
“I think, if there isn't, this country's in trouble. Because progress comes from the bulk of the people and decisions are made that are fair to everyone,” Hanna said.
In almost every setting, Hanna talks about his plans for a second term. They include efforts to resolve sticking points by reaching out to fellow republicans and democrats.
Hanna said, “To talk about it shouldn't be a crime. It's to be thoughtful about it, is the goal. How do we get there?”
Hanna thinks voters are listening and willing to keep him in Washington.
“Nobody's going to be perfect for this job,” Hanna said. “God help me, I'll never be.”