Dan Maffei

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Dan Maffei
Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission
Assumed office
March 29, 2021
Nominated byJoe Biden
Preceded byMichael Khouri
Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission
Assumed office
January 23, 2019
Nominated byDonald Trump
Preceded byHimself
In office
June 30, 2016 – June 30, 2018
Nominated byBarack Obama
Preceded byRichard Lidinsky
Succeeded byHimself
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
Preceded byAnn Marie Buerkle
Succeeded byJohn Katko
Constituency24th district
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byJames T. Walsh
Succeeded byAnn Marie Buerkle
Constituency25th district
Personal details
Daniel Benjamin Maffei

(1968-07-04) July 4, 1968 (age 55)
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseAbby Davidson
EducationBrown University (BA)
Columbia University (MS)
Harvard University (MPP)

Daniel Benjamin Maffei (/məˈf/ mə-FAY; born July 4, 1968) is an American politician and professor who was the United States representative for New York's 24th congressional district from 2013 to 2015.[1] Maffei previously represented the district, then numbered as New York's 25th congressional district, from 2009 to 2011. He has also worked as a senior adviser[2] at law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

On November 6, 2012, Maffei defeated incumbent 25th district Republican Ann Marie Buerkle in the race for the redistricted 24th, avenging his 2010 loss.[1] Maffei lost his 2014 reelection campaign to Republican nominee John Katko.[3] He served as Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission from 2016 to 2018 and was re-appointed in November 2018 to a term ending in 2022.[4][5][6] During the four month lapse in his Maritime Commissioner post, Maffei was a professor of practice at George Washington University.[7]

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Maffei was born in Syracuse and currently resides there. He graduated from Nottingham Senior High School in 1986, and continued on to receive a B.A. in history from Brown University in 1990, an M.S. in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1991, and an M.P.P. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1995.[8][9]

Upon graduating from Columbia, Maffei went to work as a reporter and producer for Syracuse's ABC affiliate WSYR-TV from 1991 to 1993, and part-time reporter for WWNY-TV in Watertown from then until 1995.

Maffei was the Senior Vice President for Corporate Development at consulting firm Pinnacle Capital Management.[10]

Early political career[edit]

Dan's career on Capitol Hill started with an unpaid internship in 1996 with New York Congressman Eliot Engel. He was hired as a press secretary for U.S. Senator Bill Bradley in 1996, then served in the same post for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from 1997 to 1998. After working on Senator Bradley's presidential campaign from 1998 to 1999, Maffei went to work for U.S. Representative Charlie Rangel from 1999 to 2005, serving as a senior staff member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

In 2005, Maffei returned to Syracuse to coordinate the successful 2005 re-election campaign of Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll. Following his successful return, Maffei decided to make his first bid for public office, challenging popular nine-term Republican Congressman Jim Walsh. He earned the Democratic nomination and mounted the first serious challenge to Walsh in years, coming within two percentage points of defeating the incumbent. Maffei won in the City of Syracuse and the rest of Onondaga County, Walsh's home turf, as well as Monroe County.

U.S. House of Representatives (2009–2011; 2013–2015)[edit]

Maffei during the
111th Congress



On January 24, 2008, after Maffei had already mounted a strong opposition campaign, Walsh announced that he would not be running for an 11th term. In March 2008, Mayor Driscoll announced he would not be running for the seat, effectively handing the nomination to Maffei. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on September 9, 2008. After it appeared he might run unopposed in the general election, on April 3, 2008, Onondaga County legislator Dale Sweetland, coming off a narrowly unsuccessful 2007 bid for Onondaga County Executive, announced that he would oppose Maffei.

Maffei was solidly favored to win the seat. In addition to rating the district as 'Leans Democratic', RealClearPolitics ranked this as the third most likely Congressional district to switch parties.[11] Going into the election, other pundits from CQ Politics, The Cook Report, and the Rothenberg Report also ranked it as 'Lean Democrat' to 'Democrat Favored'.[12]

In May 2008, and again on June 20, 2008, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, author of "The Fix", ranked the race in the 25th as a near-certainty to result in a Democratic takeover.[13][14] Although Walsh had held the seat without serious difficulty until his near-defeat in 2006, the 25th had swung heavily to the Democrats at most other levels since the 1990s. Even though Republicans have a small plurality of registered voters, it hadn't supported a Republican for president since George H. W. Bush carried it in 1988.

On November 4, 2008, Maffei defeated Sweetland, 55% to 42%.[15] He became the first Democrat to represent the area since 1981 (when it was the 32nd District), and only the second Democrat to represent the Syracuse area in Congress since 1917.


Republican Ann Marie Buerkle narrowly defeated Maffei on November 2, 2010 following weeks of absentee ballot counting and precinct recanvassing, in which Buerkle emerged with a 567-vote majority of over 200,000 ballots cast. Maffei conceded the race on November 23, 2010, when it became clear that challenged votes would not change the outcome of the race.[16]

Maffei had been favored to hold the seat. RealClearPolitics rated the district as 'Leans Democratic,' and other pundits from CQ Politics, The Cook Report, and the Rothenberg Report ranked it as 'Lean Democrat' to 'Democrat Favored'.[12]


On August 24, 2011, Maffei announced his intentions to take back his old seat, now renumbered as New York's 24th congressional district.[17][18] Maffei defeated Buerkle on November 6, 2012, 48% to 44% with 99% of precincts reporting.[1] Despite the race being called in Maffei's favor before midnight on Election Day, Buerkle released a statement the following morning, November 7, saying she would not concede until all ballots were counted.[19] Buerkle conceded the race on November 9, 2012.[20]


Maffei ran for a third, non-consecutive term in 2014. Republicans targeted his seat, along with several others in New York. He was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and faced Republican candidate John Katko, a former federal prosecutor, in the general election. Maffei lost to Katko by a margin of 19 percentage points, winning only 40% of the vote to Katko's 59%. This was the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent House member in 2014.[21][22]

Committee assignments[edit]


Academic career (2011–2012)[edit]

He has been a frequent guest lecturer at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In fall 2011 and spring 2012, he was a visiting professor of environmental studies at SUNY-ESF, where he taught a graduate seminar on the "Politics of Science and Environmental Policy".[23] Maffei is on the Board of Advisors of the Global Panel Foundation, a prominent non-partisan NGO which works behind the scenes in conflict areas around the world.

Electoral history[edit]

US House election, 2014: New York District 24, 99.67% reporting
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John Katko 112,469 59.9 +16.6
Democratic Dan Maffei 75,286 40.1 −7.6
Majority 37,183 19.8 +14.4
Turnout 187,755 100 −30.2
US House election, 2012: New York District 24, 99% reporting
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Dan Maffei 131,242 48.7 −1.1
Republican Ann Marie Buerkle 116,641 43.3 −6.9
Green Ursula Rozum 21,413 8.0 +8.0
Majority 14,601 5.4 +5.0
Turnout 269,296 100 +29.4
US House election, 2010: New York District 25
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Ann Marie Buerkle 104,374 50.2 +8.0
Democratic Dan Maffei 103,807 49.8 −4.7
Majority 567 0.4 −10.4
Turnout 208,181 100 +23.4
US House election, 2008: New York District 25
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Dan Maffei 146,411 54.5 +5.3
Republican Dale Sweetland 113,358 42.2 −7.0
Green Howie Hawkins 8,855 3.3 +3.3
Majority 33,053 12.3 +10.7
Turnout 268,624 100 −22.5
US House election, 2006: New York District 25
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican James T. Walsh (incumbent) 110,525 50.8 −39.6
Democratic Dan Maffei 107,108 49.2 +49.2
Majority 3,417 1.6 −79.2
Turnout 217,633 100 +4.0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Breidenbach, Michelle (November 6, 2012). "AP calls 24th Congressional District for Democrat Dan Maffei". The Post-Standard. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Ho, Catherine (July 3, 2011). "D.C. Bar honors pro bono director, Defense Dept. counsel". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ "John Katko declared winner over Rep. Dan Maffei in race for Congress". syracuse.com. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  4. ^ Weiner, Mark (June 30, 2016). "Senate confirms Dan Maffei for Federal Maritime Commission post". syracuse.com. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  5. ^ "Dan Maffei loses $155K federal post after Trump declines to reappoint him". syracuse.com. July 9, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Wiener, Mark (November 14, 2018). "Donald Trump to nominate Dan Maffei to Federal Maritime Commission". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  7. ^ Wiener, Mark (August 28, 2018). "Dan Maffei lands new job as professor at George Washington University". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  8. ^ "Maffei For Congress - About Dan". Maffei for Congress. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  9. ^ ""Campaign as Classroom: Dan Maffei (MPP 1995) on lessons learned"". John F. Kennedy School of Government. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  10. ^ "Pinnacle Capital Management People". Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  11. ^ "Election 2008: Senate, House & Governor Races". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  12. ^ a b CQ Politics Projected Landscape, New York's Delegation to the U.S. House Archived October 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Chris Cillizza. "Friday House Line: Dems Could Gain 20 Seats", "The Fix", The Washington Post, June 6, 2008. Retrieved on June 28, 2008.
  14. ^ Chris Cillizza. "Generic Ballot Distress for House GOP", "The Fix", The Washington Post, June 20, 2008. Retrieved on June 28, 2008
  15. ^ "US House - New York 25 Results", CNN
  16. ^ Goodin, Emily (November 23, 2010). "Rep. Maffei concedes, GOP gains 63rd seat". The Hill. Retrieved November 23, 2010. Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) conceded to his GOP challenger Tuesday afternoon, giving Republicans their 63rd pickup in the House.
  17. ^ Harding, Robert (May 27, 2012). "Green Party candidate challenging Buerkle, Maffei in 24th District". The Auburn Citizen.
  18. ^ Weiner, Mark (August 24, 2011). "Former Rep. Dan Maffei says he's ready for rematch with Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle". Syracuse Post Standard. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  19. ^ Breidenbach, Michelle (November 7, 2012). "Rep. Buerkle released statement, has not conceded 24th Congressional District to Maffei". The Post-Standard. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  20. ^ syracuse.com (November 9, 2012). "Buerkle concedes 24th Congressional race". syracuse.com. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  21. ^ "By the numbers: How John Katko beat Rep. Dan Maffei in central NY race for Congress". November 7, 2014.
  22. ^ NYS Board of Elections Rep. in Congress Election Returns November 4, 2014 elections.ny.gov Retrieved May 12, 2023
  23. ^ Weiner, Mark. 2011. "Former Rep. Dan Maffei accepts two new jobs," Syracuse Post-Standard, June 29. Accessed: June 24, 2012.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 25th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 24th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative