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House Speaker Mike Johnson travels to Binghamton, campaigns for Rep. Molinaro

Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo
U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson met with Congressman Marc Molinaro, Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar, and local law enforcement in Binghamton Thursday.

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson visited Binghamton Thursday to attend a fundraiser for Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro, who represents New York’s 19th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Southern Tier.

Johnson also attended New York Republicans' 2024 nominating convention, where the state GOP selected Mike Sapricone, a former police detective, as their candidate for U.S. Senate. Sapricone will run against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

House lawmakers are currently on a two-week recess, after failing to vote on a bipartisan funding package that would amount to $95 billion in aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Protestors gathered outside the GOP convention in downtown Binghamton, waving signs and Ukrainian flags. They called on House Republicans to pass funding for aid to Ukraine. Martha Robertson said she feels Molinaro should put pressure on Johnson to pass aid funding.

“[Molinaro] is voting with all the right-wing policies,” Robertson said. “He’s standing right there with Johnson, as they block Ukraine funding, as they refuse to deal with the border. It’s just astonishing.”

Johnson has said the house will not vote on the aid package without increased funding for border security. He did not take reporters’ questions during his visit to Binghamton.

Molinaro said he spoke with protestors outside the New York Republicans’ convention. He said he expressed some of their concerns to Johnson.

“We have a robust, vibrant Ukrainian community here in this part of the district. In the car ride over I said to him we've got to find ourselves closer to commonality,” Molinaro said. “And I understand and believe that if we can be clear about our mission, and making sure the dollars get to defending Ukrainians, and Ukrainian sovereignty, we're going to get to an agreement.”

The 19th Congressional District is one of several competitive races in New York that could play a role in whether Republicans keep control of the House.

Johnson met with Molinaro, Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar, and local law enforcement. He reiterated his support for Molinaro’s campaign.

“Marc Molinaro is one of the problem solvers in Washington, he’s not a show pony, he’s a work horse, and I know that you know what that means,” Johnson said. “We’re recruiting a bunch more, trying to find some like him to come into the fold so that we can work with, right now, the smallest majority in U.S. history in the House. We’d like to grow that a little bit, we’re going to.”

New York’s latest congressional district map is still awaiting final approval from the state legislature, after the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission approved newly drawn district lines last week. The new congressional districts could impact several competitive races, including Molinaro’s campaign for reelection.