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Hanna not opposed to NYC mosque; experts don't expect effect on 24th race

By By PAT BAILEY

(WKTV) - The debate of whether or not an American Muslim Mosque should be built near ground zero in New York City is hitting home as 24th district Congressional Candidate Richard Hanna says he is not opposed to its construction.

In his second run at congress, Richard Hanna is sticking with his moderate approach. The pro-choice Republican recently said he is not opposed to the mosque near ground zero because it's an issue of freedom.

Hanna says he recognizes it is an "emotional issue."

"I fully understand why so many people are opposed to seeing it built, but at the end of the day I believe in freedom," Hanna said. "Freedom is the foundation upon which this country was built."

Will this stance hurt Hanna come election time?

SUNYIT Political Science Professor Steve Schneider says he does not think so.

"Anybody who is not going to vote for Hanna because of his position on this mosque will not turn into a vote for Arcuri," Schneider said. "It might deflate Hanna's votes, but I don't think it's going contribute to Arcuri's votes."

Schneider says even though the mosque debate has now hit the 24th congressional race, it won't stay long.

"My best guess is that it is a summer time issue," Schneider said. "There is not a lot going on. It is one of those issues where people can get all hot and bothered about and it fits into the dog days of August."

When it comes time to vote in the fall, most will have forgotten about this one issue, Schneider added.

"I think people are going to vote with their pocketbooks like they always do," Schneider said. "They are going to vote on the economy, they're going to vote on jobs. They are not going to vote on mosques in New York City."

Several attempts to reach out to Congressman Michael Arcuri were made Tuesday. However, his staff was unable to get a response from him.

Congress did spend most of the Tuesday, on the floor voting on several issues in Washington.

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