Brindisi-Tenney II: The Rematch for 22nd Congress Seat Could Be Dramatic Contest

“Brindisi-Tenney: The Rematch” for Congress could be one of the most contentious contests for any office in the upcoming November election in the Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley.

Just weeks after the June primary, when Claudia Tenney won the GOP nomination run for a second non-consecutive term for the 22nd Congressional District seat, Anthony Brindisi, an incumbent Democrat, challenged Tenney to four live debates, with the candidates working together with “trusted local media outlets” for debates in each media market in the district — Binghamton, Utica and Syracuse — and a fourth at a to-be-determined site. Tenney quickly responded with a challenge to hold eight debates, because spokesperson Sean Kennedy said “Brindisi has a lot to answer for.”

The two candidates are currently engaged in a debate over on-going rate increases for Spectrum cable. Tenney contends Brindisi has failed to fulfill a campaign promise to fight for lower rates, pointing to numerous rate increases since Brindisi took office. Brindisi has charged Tenney with taking money from cable companies for her campaigns.

In their race two years ago, Brindisi unseated Tenney in an extremely close contest. Brindisi got 127,715 votes compared to 123,242 for Tenney — a 1.8 percent margin. Tioga County favored Tenney, while Broome went for Brindisi. On election night, Brindisi rolled out his victory speech about two hours after the polls closed. Tenney refused to concede, saying it was “too close to call” — 1,300 votes separated the two candidates with at least 13,000 absentee ballots to be counted. Three weeks later when all ballots were counted, Brindisi was officially declared the winner by roughly 3,500 votes.

The district’s boundaries include Oneida, Broome, Madison, Herkimer, Chenango, Cortland, Oswego and Tioga counties. In the first race, Oneida County had over 80,000 people go to the polls. Broome said 72,000 votes were cast. Tioga’s total was 4,800 votes, but the district only covers an eastern portion of the county.

Both candidates want the debates to inform voters on their accomplishments and promises for the next two years. Brindisi points to working with President Trump to get four pieces of legislation signed into law.” Tenney wrote in a news release that she has “always fought for Central New York and the Southern Tier’s small businesses, seniors, middle-class families, farmers, and military and veterans.”

“The upcoming election will give the hardworking residents of New York’s 22nd District an opportunity to pick their path forward in Congress for the next two years,” Brindisi wrote in a news release to WEBO. “Now more than ever, it is so important that voters see for themselves where each candidate stands on the issues facing our district.”