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It’s All Over In New York’s 22nd Congressional District

February 9, 2021 by Dan McCue
Rep. Anthony Brindisi

Former Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., a star among moderates in his party, has conceded to Republican challenger and former Rep. Claudia Tenney, at long last ending the 2020 election cycle.

Brindisi had been expected to appeal a New York State Supreme Court order that all eight counties in the upstate congressional district certify their results showing Tenney won the contest by 109 votes. 

Unlike other states, New York does not have a provision on the books mandating a recount when an election is won by such a slim margin.

On Monday, Brindisi declared it time “to close the book on this election and focus on building a better community and more united country for our children.”

The race in New York’s 22nd Congressional District was one of the most hotly contested this past election cycle, with the candidates being longtime rivals.

Tenney first won the seat in 2016, replacing Republican Rep. Richard Hanna, who has since died. Brindisi ousted Tenney in 2018, walloping her in a district Donald Trump carried by 16 points just two years earlier.

The feisty campaign gave way to a strange post-election day oddyssey in which a number of counties in the district either lost track of contested ballots or suddenly discovered drawers full of ballots that hadn’t been counted.

At the lowest moment in the post-election period, officials from one county showed up for a court hearing thinking they had all the contested ballots carefully marked with sticky notes. The only problem was the notes were less sticky than expected and most of them fell off.

In the end, New York State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte said enough is enough and ordered that the election be certified by noon on Monday. Shortly afterwards, Brindisi dropped his call for a hand recount of the more than 300,000 ballots cast in the contest and called Tenney to concede.

“Unfortunately, this election and counting process was riddled with errors, inconsistencies and systematic violations of state and federal election laws,” he said in a statement. “My one disappointment is that the Court did not see fit to grant us a recount. 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.”

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