Dan Maffei has been running continually, if not officially right away, since the day after he lost a challenge two years ago for the seat in the House of Representatives held by Jim Walsh for two decades. A year prior to that he had come back to his hometown, after several years working as a staffer inside the Beltway for Senators and Congresspeople, to manage Matt Driscoll's reelection bid for the city's top spot. Even then, however, the word was out that he had come home to run against Walsh, and that he would be able to garner significant DC support for his effort. He helped strategize a squeaker victory for Matt, then made what many saw as a significant run against Walsh, losing by about 3,400 votes.
Having worked for Bill Bradley, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Charlie Rangel, Maffei says he knows which buttons to push, where they are, and what it takes to get them pushed. He cites Moynihan, who started as a staffer for Averill Harriman, as a role model, adding that his time spent as a television journalist at Channel 9 gives him further advantage in knowing how to get the job done once elected. He traces his local years through Ed Smith, Levy and Nottingham, then on to Brown University, then reflects with a grin on his tenure as a reporter. "Looking at me now," he quips, "all my former colleagues in the local media must be wondering, 'Where did he go wrong?'"
Your campaign chest was compared recently with Dale Sweetland's as $855,000 to $0. Is that a tremendous advantage to start out with?
No. It's a head start. But is not the only factor in a campaign. I think the biggest difference is that I've been out there for three years, and I know the district very well from end to end. Obviously I know Syracuse and DeWitt, Camillus and Salina, the towns closest to where I grew up. But I know the whole district. And that makes a big difference. But also I've been doing a lot of thinking about these issues. And knocking on doors. And going to meetings. All that means we can really hit the ground running for this Congressional race.