The leader of the House of Representatives and the highest ranking Republican in the country will be in central New York Monday to support U.S. Rep. John Katko's re-election campaign.
House Speaker Paul Ryan headlined a fundraiser for Katko, R-Camillus, at Marriott Syracuse Downtown, which was formerly known as Hotel Syracuse before it was renovated.
According to an invitation provided to The Citizen, the fundraiser began at 4 p.m. with a $1,000-a-person VIP reception featuring Katko and Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican. A cocktail reception followed at 4:30 p.m.
The cost to attend the cocktail reception was $250 per person and $350 for couples.
Ryan has already provided financial support to Katko's re-election efforts. The speaker's political action committee, the Prosperity Action PAC, gave $10,000 to Katko's campaign earlier this year.
Following his visit Monday, Ryan issued a statement praising Katko, who is seeking a second term in Congress against Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon.
"Central New York families understand the importance of accountability," Ryan said. "With a 20-year career as a federal prosecutor, John Katko held people accountable every single day.
"He is a man of integrity and he understands the importance of getting results, no matter the challenge. That's exactly why we need John Katko representing New York's 24th district and I'm glad to support him."
The Syracuse visit is one of several stops for Ryan during a swing through upstate New York. He headlined a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, a Buffalo-area Republican, and he will attend a similar event Tuesday in the Rochester area for U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, a GOP congressman from Corning.
Republicans view the upstate New York seats as important to maintaining and strengthening the party's majority in the House of Representatives.
Democrats criticized Ryan's visit to central New York Monday and noted that Katko has voted four times to defund Planned Parenthood.
Bryan Lesswing, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Ryan's appearance is Katko's reward "for putting the Washington Republican agenda ahead of central New York when it counts."
"Whether it is breaking a promise to voters by voting to defund Planned Parenthood four times or the majority of special interest money bankrolling his campaign, it's clear that Katko answers to Washington, not central New York," Lesswing said.
The support from Ryan isn't the first time a top House Republican has campaigned with Katko in central New York.
Last year, then-House Speaker John Boehner visited the region to headline a fundraiser for Katko. Boehner also attended a Katko fundraiser in 2014 when the Camillus Republican was challenging Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei in the 24th District race.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined Katko in 2014 for an Auburn fundraiser. And National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden visited central New York twice during the last election to campaign with Katko.
The 24th Congressional District race is once again one of the most closely watched contests in the nation. Both parties consider the race a top priority and political prognosticators rate it a "toss up."