Nick McAdam, Editor-in-Chief
Last Updated: Nov. 3 at 11:44 p.m.
Tenney now leads Brindisi 55.4% to 42.4% with 68% of districts reporting.
The mood, along with the vote, has changed. The crowd is energized and taunting Brindisi, chanting their goodbyes repeatedly.
Tenney has arrived at the event and is set to speak in front of an ecstatic crowd.
“I want to say how grateful I am to everybody in this room right now,” Tenney said. “It’s a really exciting night. My heart goes out to all of you. Going door to door, wearing your masks. I’m feeling confident about the way the vote is going right now. Absentee ballots are going to make the difference.”
Tenney also addressed the disappointment after the 2018 loss, but remained confident in the fact that Trump was “top of the ticket.” This, according to her, restored her confidence in running for the seat again, which she wasn’t going to do until Trump encouraged her to run again.
“Socialism is on our doorstep,” she said. “We have to slowly start getting things back to where they were before. Our region has been in struggle. Our region, however, is where America was made great again.”
Tenney believes the Republican Party is the party for the working class. She is hoping for Trump to pull through to continue the fight against Nancy Pelosi.
“We have to keep fighting every step of the way,” she said. “Our committee needs to be grown locally, building this community back starts right here. Your votes have truly counted. It’s been such a battle, but it seems surreal to be in this position again.”
Earlier reports throughout the evening:
Former congresswoman and Republican challenger Claudia Tenney hosted her party at the Nothin’ Fancy Cafe in Vernon. It’s a night filled with supporters having conversations at the bars complemented with free Tenney and current President Donald Trump merchandise.
Tenney is running against incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) in what is projected to be another tight race in the district, though it has been reported that Brindisi is running as the favorite for victory early on.
Tenney was set to address the crowd at 10 p.m. Television screens have been scattered across the area eyeing real-time results of the presidential election with Democratic nominee Joe Biden up 131-108 on President Trump in the Electoral College so far.
Regardless, the energy in the room is relaxed. Concerns of COVID-19 safety involving social distancing and masks have been posted and made aware to attendees. However, several participants have been seen without proper face coverings.
Dave and Claudine Laskowski, owners of the Nothin’ Fancy Cafe are still optimistic about the night despite the early results both in the district and in the presidential election.
“Tenney has a way of being real personable with us and others that we appreciate,” the Laskowskis said. “She reached out to us directly and asked if she can host this here, which we were honored to host. She even got out and played drums for a bit on stage.”
The night is starting to get a little quieter with music drowning out the noise of voices in the room. Trump has gained some traction in the Electoral College with 92 points, though Biden still leads the race with a count of 118.
Multiple members of the audience are still sitting without proper face coverings; either with masks completely off or just below their nose. The Laskowskis addressed concerns of COVID-19 safety, though the duo also had masks off in their interview.
“Right now our max capacity generally is 350 so 50 percent of that is because it’s not a ticketed event and because of the virus,” they said. “We have to stop at 140 to cap it out early. We also have security walking around the event making sure everybody’s mask is up.”
Though the couple mentioned security patrolling the event, nobody has been found enforcing such policy to attendees, aside from volunteers taking temperatures at the door.
Al Lamot, an attendee of the party, was visibly nervous about how the night could end for both Tenney and Trump. Still, he believes in the common good of both politicians to work with the community, police and the military.
“Tenney is able to keep jobs in the area,” he said. “She works with law enforcement and respects our troops. I’m all for that. She’s very personable and down to earth like Trump is. Brindisi just sits in his office chair and lounges around all day, Tenney is getting it done.”
The New York Times is reporting votes at 5% with Brindisi up 69.3 percent with 11,500 votes to Tenney with 29.2 percent and 4,838 votes.
Attendance has capped off at what looks to be just over 100 people. Some are residing at the bar, most are crowded closely together at tables near the stage where two music performers are entertaining the crowd with blues music.
“God bless Donald Trump,” the performers said. “God bless Claudia Tenney. God bless the United States of America.”
Though nobody got up for the performance, everybody enjoyed the closing statements.
Tenney has yet to make an appearance at the event. She’s made some ground in the race with 14 percent reporting and 38.6 percent of the vote, but Brindisi still has a substantial lead in the early numbers.
Sean Kennedy, a spokesperson for the Tenney campaign, is assured on Oneida County’s official count and absentee ballots that, according to him, will push Tenney to victory. Although this may be the case, Kennedy and the rest of the supporters seemed unsure of the actual count.
The musical performances are still going, though the duo seem to be acting as the spokespeople for the campaign by reporting what they believe are the right polling numbers. According to the duo and the crowd, Tenney is still up in the polls.