Bailey Hryb, News Editor
Three days after Election Day, Republican challenger Claudia Tenney has a healthy lead over Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica).
The former congresswoman leads Brindisi by a margin of 128,512 votes to 98,489 votes, according to the state Board of Elections. Libertarian candidate Keith Price received 5,467 votes.
Tenney addressed her supporters Tuesday night at an event held at Nothin’ Fancy Cafe in Vernon.
“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.”
This news comes after one of the most volatile presidential elections in recent history, with the winner of that race, between former Vice President Joe Biden and current incumbent President Donald Trump, also yet to be determined. Major swing states, such as Pennsylvania and Nevada, are still up in the air.
The reason behind the slow results could be blamed on the coronavirus pandemic. An increase in mail-in votes, due to fears of voting in-person in large crowds, means that results need to undergo a long delivery process to the polls where they will be hand opened and counted. In addition, mail ballots in New York state have until Nov. 10 if postmarked on Election Day, meaning results could take another week to be finalized, according to The New York Times.
The pandemic has also changed the face of in-person watch parties, making this an election race like no other. Brindisi opted to avoid crowds and addressed supporters remotely via Facebook Live, while Tenney held the in-person gathering.
In an interview with The Tangerine on Tuesday afternoon, Brindisi admitted that he expected yet another close race between him and his opponent. In 2018, he narrowly defeated then-incumbent Tenney 50.9% to 49.1%. Specifically, Brindisi won by less than 5,000 votes and the race was not officially finalized until Nov. 20.
The NY-22 district covers all of Chittenango, Cortland, Madison and Oneida counties, and partially covers Broome, Herkimer, Oswego and Tioga counties, a roughly 5,000 square mile area. The district encapsulates residents that live as north as Boonville and as south as Binghamton.
When asked what his plans were if he were to not win re-election, Brindisi said he would take time off to catch up with his family, yet says the idea of a possible re-run in 2022 is “not off the table.”
It is unclear when final results will be announced. Neither a victory rally by Tenney nor a concession speech by Brindisi has been made.
Brindisi says that, regardless of who wins or loses, he hopes that the elected official will unite the citizens of this district, rather than further divide them.
“Regardless of if you’re a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, if you voted for me or not, we are all Americans first,” Brindisi said. “As the count continues, we are in for a long couple of weeks. It is important that the people of NY-22 have their voice heard and send a representative to Congress who shows up, works with both parties, and stands up to anyone on behalf of this community. It is the honor of a lifetime to serve you in Congress.”