Claudia Tenney wins NY-22 race

Photo+from+Alyssa+McKenna

Photo from Alyssa McKenna

Bailey Hryb, Managing Editor

More than three months after polling centers closed on Election Day last year, New York’s 22nd congressional district finally has a winner. According to data certified by the New York State Board of Elections, Republican challenger Claudia Tenney has officially won the NY-22 race, defeating Democratic incumbent Anthony Brindisi. 

“Today I congratulated Claudia Tenney and offered to make the transition process as smooth as possible on behalf of our community,” Brindisi said in a concession statement released on Feb. 8. “I hope that she will be a Representative for all the people of this district, not just those that agree with her point of view, and work with members of both parties to heal the deep divisions that exist in our country.”

Tenney remained victorious by a small margin of 109 votes over Brindisi. The margin between the two contenders was so slim that it took multiple recounts over a span of months to finalize a winner. 

The NY-22 district is comprised of Chenango, Courtland, Madison and Oneida counties and contains parts of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego and Tioga counties. It encapsulates towns and cities as north as Boonville and as south as Binghamton. 

Tenney, who was the elected congresswoman of the NY-22 district between 2016 and 2018, started out with a large lead over Brindisi as election night came to a close. As the votes started to roll in, the winning seat began to teeter back and forth between the two, with it eventually landing in Tenney’s favor more than three months later.

“I am honored to have won this race,” Tenney said in a recent statement. “It was a hard-fought campaign and I thank Anthony Brindisi for his service.”

The NY-22 race, which was the last in the nation to be certified, was “riddled with errors,” according to Brindisi. From improper markings of candidate challenges to mishandled sticky notes that identified certain votes, the counting process did not go as smoothly as planned.

Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte denied Brindisi’s request for a hand recount prior to Tenney’s certification. 

“My one disappointment is that the court did not see fit to grant us a recount,” Brindisi said.  “Sadly, we may never know how many legal voters were turned away at the polls or ballots not counted due to the ineptitude of the boards of election, especially in Oneida County. My hope is some authority steps in and investigates the massive disenfranchisement of voters that took place during this election.”

Tenney will be sworn in during the middle of a pandemic that is sure to challenge her abilities as an elected official. Oneida County specifically has seen both a tremendous uptick in COVID-19 cases as well as a slight downturn in the past few months. Nonetheless, the region is far from being in the clear when it comes to public health concerns. 

“I think it is important that she work towards getting meaningful COVID relief for the district,” said Dr. Daniel Tagliarina, associate professor of political science. “Many have been hit hard in the area, and in the country more generally, and she could do a lot by working with the Democrats who control Congress to make sure relief packages are passed.”

A date for Tenney’s swearing-in has not been set yet. Brindisi has said prior to the results that he was planning on running again in 2022.