Polls open Tuesday in GOP race for 22nd congressional district

Published Jun 27, 2016 at 4:00pm

The campaign for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 22nd District is in its closing hours.

One Tuesday, some 156,000 active enrolled Republicans are eligible to pick their party’s nominee from a field of three hopefuls. Seeking the endorsement are: George K. Phillips, a school teacher from Endwell in Broome County; Claudia L. Tenney, a state assemblywoman from New Hartford; and Steven M. Wells, a businessman from Cazenovia.

Polls will be open noon to 9 p.m. across the district that is made up of all or part of eight counties. All of the usual Oneida County voting locations will be open.

Besides the GOP primary, there is a Reform Party opportunity-to-ballot contest. Tenney’s name is listed on the ballot and there’s a space to write in names.

Tenney also has the Conservative line on the November ballot.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Richard L. Hanna of Barneveld is retiring at the end of his third two-year term Dec. 31.

Tomorrow’s primary is only for nominations for the U.S. House of Representatives around the state. The primary for all state and local offices will be in September. New York’s presidential primary was conducted in April.

A Liberty Opinion Research poll released a week ago showed that among likely Republican primary voters in the 22nd, Tenney led Wells by a margin of 32 percent to 31 percent. Rounding out the race with 13 percent was Phillips, who twice carried the GOP standard against former Rep. Maurice Hinchey.

“This race clearly will hinge on who can deliver their supporters to the polls in what will likely be a very low turnout primary election,” said Liberty Opinion President Nicholas Langworthy. “Whoever has the superior ground effort and turnout operation will likely win the nomination.”

The more conservative GOP voters in the could split their ballots Tuesday between Tenney and Phillips, allowing the more centrist Wells to manage a victory. This is Wells’ first run for elective office.

Tenney ran from the right against the more moderate Hanna in a 2014 primary for the seat. She lost by six percentage points.

Oneida County has the largest voter enrollment of any of the eight counties. There are about 47,378 active registered Republicans, according to the state Board of Elections. Broome County, which is Phillips’ home county, has the second largest GOP enrollment, at 39,975. Madison County, where Wells lives, has 15,633 registered Republicans.

There are seven enrolled Reform Party members in the entire district.

The district comprises all of Oneida, Madison, Chenango and Cortland counties, and parts of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego and Tioga counties

Vestal resident Kim A. Myers, a Broome County legislator, is the only Democrat running for the seat. Also, businessman Martin Babinec of Little Falls is running as an independent.

There are more registered Republicans than Democrats in the district.