Mike Johnson visits New York, where ‘fate of the country’ will be decided

Mike Johnson visits New York, where ‘fate of the country’ will be decided

BINGHAMTON, New York — U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson wants all Republicans to know the stakes of the upcoming elections: the southern border is “wide open” and the economy is “in chaos.”

He particularly wants New Yorkers to know that the fate of the “most important election,” maybe of all time, likely rests in their hands.

“This district could very well decide the future,” Johnson told attendees of a closed-door fundraiser for Rep. Marc Molinaro here Thursday afternoon.

The remarks, captured by POLITICO, were part of the speaker’s trip to two upstate New York swing districts — a visit that underscored the pressure on Johnson to at least keep, if not grow, his party’s razor-thin majority in the House.

It also put renewed focus on New York, where tough challenges to Republican incumbents threaten to hand power back to Democrats, as the state’s House district maps hang in the balance.

And the visit hinted at the Democratic Party’s campaign strategy in swing districts: attach Republicans to the party’s MAGA base in an effort to win over the moderate and independent voters who reject candidates favored by former President Donald Trump.

“This one is for all the marbles,” Johnson said of the upcoming elections, speaking to said attendees of the fundraiser at a Binghamton DoubleTree hotel.

Earlier in the day he stumped with Rep. Brandon Williams, attending a golf club fundraiser with him to help Williams in his race. Four Democrats are facing off in a primary to run for the seat. Johnson also showed up for the opening of a new National Republican Congressional Committee office.

“This is one of the districts that is going to decide the fate of the country,” Johnson said at the NRCC office, a notion he would later repeat to donors in Binghamton. “This district may very well be one of the decision points on whether we keep the majority, grow the majority in the House.”

Johnson’s visit also included a stop at the Broome County Sheriff’s office, where he spoke about his support for law enforcement. He promptly left before reporters could ask any questions.

While Molinaro and Williams welcomed Johnson, Democrats seized on his visit to attack the Republican incumbents presiding over purple districts — two weeks after their party toppled a GOP candidate in a special election on Long Island for a Republican-held House seat.

A left-leaning group Empire State Voices sent a box truck with mobile billboards of Molinaro and Williams, each photoshopped next to an image of the speaker, hoping to shame the Republicans for their support of bills that gut IRS funding and enable what the ads referred to as “rich tax cheats.” The truck appeared at both candidates’ fundraisers and outside their district offices.

Josh Riley, the Democrat vying to take Molinaro’s NY-19 seat after narrowly losing to him in 2022, held an event at a Binghamton diner with supporters in an attempt to draw a contrast with his opponent.

“While career politician Marc Molinaro spent the morning raising money with Mike Johnson to support their agenda of criminalizing abortion and killing Social Security, Josh was talking with folks at a diner in Binghamton about securing the border and strengthening the middle class,” Riley’s campaign spokesperson Daniel Fleiss told POLITICO.

And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued an announcement describing the day as just one example of Molinaro’s alignment with the “MAGA extremist” speaker.

“Marc Molinaro played a ‘pivotal role’ in making Mike Johnson — who wants to ban abortion and slash Social Security and Medicare — Speaker of the House and now, he has the gall to bring Johnson to Broome County,” DCCC spokesperson Ellie Dougherty, said.

Still, the speaker’s visit was likely a boost to the candidates. Molinaro’s fundraiser was packed, with some would-be attendees forced to stand outside.

It was an example of the speaker visiting places that “often get ignored by too many people,” Molinaro said.

And besides, Johnson was eager to thank Molinaro.

“I owe you, bro,” Johnson recalled telling Molinaro, as a thanks for supporting him in his race for speaker.

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