miner

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Associated Press

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner won't challenge U.S. Rep. John Katko in 2018. 

"After much thoughtful consideration and conversations with my family, I have decided I will not be a candidate for Congress in 2018," Miner, a Democrat, said in a statement. "This was not an easy decision given the magnitude of issues faced by our community, but I believe we are best served supporting other progressive leaders in this election both at home and across New York." 

Miner, who is in the final year of her second term as mayor, was the most prominent central New York Democrat considering a congressional bid. She was mentioned as a possible candidate in 2016, but ultimately didn't run for Congress. 

Earlier this year, Miner pressed Katko, R-Camillus, to oppose the Republicans' plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, a landmark health care law signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. 

The rhetoric between the two central New York leaders intensified in June when Miner spoke at a rally supporting Planned Parenthood. Katko's campaign issued a statement calling Miner "a failed politician" and suggested she resign or "stand up and lead our city." 

Miner responded by citing Katko's votes to slash federal funding for Planned Parenthood. 

"While Washington politicians resort to personal attacks, I will not stop fighting for the issues important to the people of our region," she said at the time.

Following the Planned Parenthood exchange, Miner invited Katko to attend a joint forum and discuss how the Republicans' health care plan would affect Syracuse. 

Katko didn't accept the invitation. 

Despite the interactions with Katko, Miner didn't seem interested in the 24th Congressional District race. Her focus has shifted to a possible run for governor in 2018. She is exploring a gubernatorial bid, which would likely pit her against incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a primary. 

Cuomo has said he will seek a third term as the state's top executive. He was first elected in 2010. 

The rift between Cuomo and Miner began after she criticized the lack of state support for Syracuse and other cities. She has long believed that the state should be doing more to help cities, especially those in upstate New York that have been struggling for decades. 

Miner hasn't indicated when she will make a decision on the 2018 gubernatorial race. Other Democrats have expressed interest in the race, including former state Sen. Terry Gipson and "Sex and the City" actress Cynthia Nixon. 

In the 24th Congressional District, two Democrats are seeking the party's nomination to challenge Katko: Dana Balter, a Syracuse activist, and Anne Messenger, a Manlius businesswoman. 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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