Anthony Brindisi and Claudia Tenney congressional race another contested rematch in NY-22

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Photo: Observer Dispatch

Thomas Nieman, Staff Writer

The 2020 United States presidential election is less than one week away and voters should expect to see positions other than the presidency on the ballot. New York’s 22nd Congressional District election between incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi and former Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney will also be on the ballot.

In 2018, then-incumbent Tenney was defeated by then-State Assemblyman Brindisi for a seat in the House of Representatives. Brindisi was able to secure 50.9% of votes, while Tenney received 49.1%. Both candidates face off again next week.

Brindisi said it has been the honor of a lifetime to serve his hometown of Utica and all of New York’s 22nd Congressional District in the House of Representatives. He believes his legislative accomplishments have been bipartisan and have brought better paying jobs to Upstate New York. 

“I’ve worked with both parties to get six bills signed into law by the president,” Brindisi said. “These laws help our veterans, bring down health care costs, and bring good paying jobs back to our district. But Upstate also needs a fighter and I will stand up to anyone on behalf of our district.”

New York’s 22nd Congressional District includes Chenango, Cortland, Madison and Oneida counties as well as parts of Broome, Herkimer, Tioga and Oswego counties. According to 2010 Census Bureau statistics, this congressional district includes a total population of 720,201.

During her reelection efforts in 2018, Tenney secured an important endorsement from President Donald Trump. The president visited Utica and was a special guest at a reception for the Tenney Victory Fund on Aug. 13, 2018. This was the first time a sitting president visited Utica since President Harry Truman stopped at Union Station in Utica back in 1948 during his whistle-stop campaign tour. 

A spokesperson for the Tenney campaign gave reference to Tenney’s website for details on the former congresswoman’s accomplishments. The Tenney campaign declined to provide comments for this story. 

Tenney’s campaign strategy is premised on greater turnout of Trump supporters this cycle than last, said Luke Perry, professor of government and politics.

“The problem is that Republicans are divided over President Trump and the direction of the country,” Perry said. “The president’s decline is a major obstacle for Tenney, who closely aligned herself with Trump throughout his tenure. Not only does a Trump-related boost now seem unlikely for Tenney, the president may serve as a drag on the ticket as disaffected Republicans refuse to vote for either of them.”

A recent poll by the Siena College Research Institute found that Brindisi currently holds a 48-39% lead over Tenney.

Both candidates participated in a live debate on Oct. 26 at Mohawk Valley Community College and addressed a range of topics of interest to the 22nd congressional district, such as COVID-19, climate change and the flooding that affects the local area. 

Brindisi stated the importance of building back infrastructure in this area as well as recognizing the threat of climate change, while Tenney questioned climate change attributing to flooding in this area and focused more on what she believes are problems with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“There is a clear contrast in this race between me and my opponent,” Brindisi said. “We need a system that is working for us and that’s why I passed the biggest campaign finance reform bill in a generation to try and get big money out of politics. In my first-term in office, I got things done, but we are just getting started.”

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3 with early voting already taking place in New York.