Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- With a little more than two weeks to go, democrats are hoping a visit in Syracuse Friday from former President Bill Clinton will help them in a very tight battle for congress.
Clinton was here supporting Dan Maffei in his bid to reclaim the seat lost to Ann Marie Buerkle two years ago.
A crowd of several hundred people waited for a couple of hours to see and hear the former president. Clinton started off by winning them over with a little self-deprecation.
“I'm here because you're stuck with me, because under our rules the Secretary of State cannot engage in politics. However, she did call me early this morning and she said tell them I still love them in Syracuse,” said the former president.
Absent his wife and former NY State Senator Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton quickly launched into politics.
“I want to just talk to you, this is serious, this whole election is going to be determined by turnout, you know it as well as I do,” Clinton said.
“As President Clinton showed when he was in office when you take care of the middle class, businesses thrive,” Democratic Candidate for Congress Dan Maffei said.
Clinton covered various aspects of the race, both for the White House, but more importantly for this rally -- the battle for the congressional seat in the 24th District to represent Central New York.
“I thought it was a lot of messages that people in Central New York really need to hear. There’s a lot of undecided voters supposedly around,” said Ben Slutzky, who attended the rally.
Undecided voter Bill Rickli says Clinton’s visit may have swayed his vote.
“I think it probably changed my vote to vote for Maffei, which I was kind of leaning towards, but not definitely,” he said.
"We're on the way and Syracuse should be on the way. I hate to do it, sounds poetic, you should be on the way with Dan Maffei,” Clinton continued.
It was a relatively brief speech from the former president, only about a half an hour long, but it's something the Maffei camp is hoping carries them all the way through to Election Day.
Ann Marie Buerkle’s office issued a statement saying: "Bill Clinton campaigned for Dan Maffei two years ago, and it didn't make any difference. This election is between Ann Marie Buerkle and Dan Maffei and we're confident the voters will select Ann Marie - just like they did two years ago when they kicked Dan Maffei out of office."
Clinton also visited the Salt City in 2010 in support of Maffei, when the former Congressman lost his seat to Buerkle by 648 votes.