For Casey McDonald, interest in running for Congress in New York’s 23rd Congressional District traces all the way back to 2016. That’s when President Donald Trump carried the 23rd District by what McDonald considers a significant margin—around 15 percentage points.
Over the next four years, McDonald watched Rep. Tom Reed closely. Specifically, he watched Reed’s work with what’s called “The Problem Solvers Caucus,” which he says undermines conservative values.
“Tom Reed, along with many other New York Congressmen, as well as a number of other people from across the country tried to make the Republican majority ineffective,” McDonald said. It’s a claim that Reed continues to dispute as he looks to represent the 23rd District for another term. Reed has already secured the nomination of County Party chairs throughout it.
“[The Problem Solvers] basically had 24 Republicans vote with the Democrats dozens and dozens of times, and not once brought a victory towards conservative concepts, social conservatism, meaning traditional family values,” McDonald continued, pointing out that rural parts of the 23rd are a conservative stronghold.
McDonald even alleges that Reed undermined the efforts of President Donald Trump to “drain the swamp.” It should be noted that Reed is Trump’s reelection chair in New York.
McDonald contends that if Reed’s intent is to run for governor, he can understand trying to establish himself as a moderate Republican.
“I understand him voting for rules changes and doing it by himself,” he explained. “But when he brings a group of Republicans and recruits them to vote against conservative principles, I think there needs to be some pushback. And unfortunately, that pushback doesn’t presently exist within the Republican Party.”
He admits that what comes next will be a challenge. That includes finding the necessary signatures through the petition process, and getting on the ballot to force a primary. “Even if we secure enough signatures, it’s likely that we’ll face legal challenges to those signatures, so it’s important that we get plenty of signatures, and voters save their signature for me,” he explained. The Republican from Romulus says he won’t enter the race on a third-party ballot line, but noted that he’s serious about challenging in June.
“I do ask my neighbors to help me, that you’re holding your signatures for me. That’s the message I’m repeating because it’s so very, very important,” he explained. “If you do hold your signatures for me, perhaps we can gather enough of them that perhaps we can create tension in the system.”
McDonald contends that a primary is intended to debate the issues, or force both candidates—or whatever candidate makes it through—to be honest to the district. It allows the district to hold its elected representative accountable, too.
“There’s a lot of discussion about term limits, but for instance, if we want them, we can choose limits through a primary process,” he added. “We already have that in place.”
McDonald says there are a number of ways that government could be made to work more efficiently. To that end, he says it’s a process that starts-and-ends with voters. They will initiate the process and, if given the opportunity, will complete it in Congress next year.