Former U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, a moderate Republican from upstate New York who broke with his party in 2016 over supporting then-candidate Donald Trump, has died. He was 69.
His family released a statement saying the three-term congressman died Sunday in a hospital after a battle with cancer.
“Richard was honorable, he led by example, and always stood for what he believed was right,” the family said.
Hanna had already announced his pending retirement when he spoke out in August 2016 about his decision to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over Trump, whom he described as “deeply flawed,” in the November 2016 election.
News of his death brought an outpouring of reaction, among them Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who issued a statement saying “the people of upstate New York and America have lost a patriot and public servant of conviction and character.”
Hanna “was a leader of great integrity who always put patriotism and principles before politics,” she said.
Hanna was first elected to Congress in 2010. He represented New York’s 22nd Congressional District, which includes Oneida and Utica and runs down to the Pennsylvania border.
He split with the more conservative outlook of his party on other issues, as well, including same-sex marriage, abortion access and women’s rights.
When he was leaving office, he criticized the Republican Party as going too far from when he joined, telling The Post-Standard of Syracuse, New York, “It’s really gone to the far extremes on social issues. They’ve become judgmental and sanctimonious and authoritarian on their approach to people.”