Rematch Looms In NY-22 As Tenney Launches Comeback Bid Against Brindisi | WAMC

Rematch Looms In NY-22 As Tenney Launches Comeback Bid Against Brindisi

Oct 1, 2019

They’re both former members of the New York state Assembly. They’ve both represented the state’s 22nd district in the House of Representatives. And now, Claudia Tenney and Anthony Brindisi are heading for a possible rematch of their 2018 race. As WAMC’s Ian Pickus reports, President Trump carried the district in 2016.

New York’s 22nd House district stretches from the Pennsylvania border to Binghamton, northeast to Utica and northwest to the shores of Lake Ontario.

And it has had three different representatives over the past three terms.

Republican Richard Hanna retired in 2016, Republican Claudia Tenney replaced him, and then Democrat Anthony Brindisi unseated her in a squeaker as the Democrats took control of the House in 2018. But Tenney remained in public view, even attending this year’s State of the Union address.

On Tuesday, Tenney confirmed the long-expected news in a campaign video — she’s running again.  

“This is home. It always has been,” she said.

Online experts who rate House races list NY-22 as a Democratic toss-up.

Brindisi spoke on WAMC’s Congressional Corner just after Tenney’s video was posted.

“Well, look, whoever the nominee is on the Republican side, we’re going to take very seriously, and I believe that I have an obligation in the meantime up until the election to really work on the issue people care most about in this district, and that’s what I’m focused on doing, and there’s going to be lots of time for politics,” Brindisi said.

Tenney lost the seat with 49 percent of the vote in 2018, as Brindisi garnered 51 percent after a bitter race. From the start, Brindisi has sold himself as a moderate. He voted against Nancy Pelosi in her ultimately successful bid to return as Speaker, and has urged restraint during the run-up to impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

Brindisi also addressed that issue Tuesday.

“These are very serious allegations that impact our national security and I have a responsibility under my oath that I took to the Constitution to be very thoughtful, to be intentional and to work to find the facts,” Brindisi said. 

Notably, Tenney didn’t mention the name “Trump” in her video even though the president and his family were prominent backers in 2018. WAMC has requested an interview with Tenney, who has embraced unfounded conspiracy theories relating to the “deep state” and claimed many mass shooters are Democrats.

“Republicans and Democrats from the Southern Tier to the Mohawk Valley, all across Central New York, people get up every day and fight,” Tenney said.

For his part, Brindisi suggested he wants his record to speak for itself.

“I’m not worried,” he said. “I think we have a long time to go before the election happens. We have a year out before the Congressional race happens and there’s going to be a lot of time for politics during that time period. The one thing I would always hear during the campaign last time around that would frustrate people more than anything is we have these endless elections and they just want people who, after the elections are done, sit down and work on governing.”