John Katko, Dana Balter debate: A bombshell and pleasantries (video)

Rep. John Katko and Dana Balter faced off Wednesday night in a debate aired live on Syracuse.com that included a series of bitter exchanges and accusations.

In the course of nearly an hour, both candidates ultimately found room to agree on some issues, and even say something nice about each other.

After debating issues for almost 40 minutes, Katko and Balter were given a chance to directly ask each other a question.

Balter, a Syracuse Democrat, used her opportunity to drop a bombshell on Katko: She accused him of changing his position on a Transportation Security Administration bill because the airline industry gave him campaign cash.

“I believe it was the day before the markup you got thousands of dollars of contributions from the airline industry,” Balter said, “and the very next day during markup changed one of the major provisions of your own bill in the way that the airline industry wanted it to be changed. I’d like you to explain to voters why you did that.”

Katko fired back: “That is outrageous beyond belief,” he said. “To think that I would somehow be influenced by something like that is ridiculous. I don’t remember exactly what you are talking about, but I can tell you one thing: I’ve never been influenced by anybody in my life. And for you to say that, smacks of desperation on your part.”

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