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Candidates weigh in on congressional primary for NY-22 and NY-21

Alexis Manore
Staff writer
Posted 8/25/22

In two primary elections held Tuesday for the 22nd Congressional District, unofficial results projected Brandon Williams for the Republican primary win, and Francis Conole for the Democratic win.   …

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Candidates weigh in on congressional primary for NY-22 and NY-21


In two primary elections held Tuesday for the 22nd Congressional District, unofficial results projected Brandon Williams for the Republican primary win, and Francis Conole for the Democratic win.  

Amid a flurry of Tuesday night statements Conole said, in part, “I am honored to have received such an outpouring of support from the voters of NY-22, and I am grateful to be your Democratic nominee. I’ll work everyday to continue to earn the trust you’ve placed in me. I also want to commend the three incredible candidates who ran in this primary who are all great Americans and great public servants. Tonight is just the beginning of our mission to bring real leadership to Central New York and to deliver for working families. … As I have my entire career, I will continue to lead by bringing people together and building trust. I look forward to continuing to lay out a positive vision for Central New York and this country that focuses on lowering costs, investing in the middle class, and protecting a woman’s right to choose and earning every vote possible.” 

Candidates faced obstacles on the road to the primaries

Following a lengthy redistricting process, the 22nd Congressional District now comprises Oneida, Madison, Onondaga and part of Oswego counties. It previously was made up of all of Oneida, Cortland, Madison and Chenango counties and part of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego and Tioga counties.     

Currently, Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, of New Hartford, represents the 22nd district; but after the redistricting process, she is now seeking re-election in the 24th Congressional District. She faced off against Mario Fratto and George K. Phillips for the Republican ballot line. 

Despite living in New Hartford and not in the 24th district, Tenney trended ahead in the election with over 50% of the vote, as of 2:48 p.m. Wednesday.  

In a statement released Wednesday, Tenney referred to her campaign as a “grassroots movement of passionate New Yorkers fighting for change in Washington.” 

“Our campaign is about supporting our nation’s veterans, the Second Amendment, law enforcement, America’s energy independence, and a secure border. It is about safer streets, lower costs, and greater opportunity. Public opinion has never been more united: Conservatives, Republicans, Independents, and Democrats have all had it with the direction of our country,” Tenney said in the statement. “If you want to return America to the self-governing Constitutional Republic it was intended to be, this is your campaign.” 

Williams and Wells

Williams and Steve Wells, the two candidates who competed in the Republican primary contest, spent the days leading up to the election accusing each other of not paying their taxes. 

Wells accused Williams of failing to pay taxes on his Sennett farm on time in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2022. Williams attempted to sell the farm in 2016 in order to move to California, where his software company is located.  

Town of Sennett tax records released by Wells’ campaign show that Williams paid his taxes up to two months late.  

In response to the accusations, Williams claimed that Wells’ business and its subsidiaries have been issued at least three state tax liens in 2016, 2018 and 2020. Additionally, Williams’ campaign claimed that Fleet Bank and Syracuse Savings Bank filed a notice of a lawsuit regarding real estate against Wells and his brother in 1996. 

After the polls closed 

In a statement released Tuesday evening, Wells congratulated Williams on his projected win. 

“I got in this race because I believe Biden’s failed policies are devastating Central New York. I still do,” Wells said in the statement. “I wish Brandon the best as he works to help Republicans retake the House and stop Biden’s failed agenda.” 

There is one primary election in the new 21st Congressional District, currently represented by Elise Stefanik, R-21, Schuylerville. Matt Castelli and Matt Putorti faced off in a Democratic primary, the winner of which will face Stefanik in the November general election. Tuesday night vote tallies showed Castelli pulling ahead by a wide margin.

In a late Tuesday night statement Stefanik’s campaign referred to Castelli as a “Far-left Downstate Democrat.” Castelli also ran for the Moderate party in the primary election.  

“We are confident that NY-21 voters … will soundly reject Castelli and re-elect Congresswoman Stefanik in another landslide victory this November so that she can continue her record of delivering real results for the North Country and Upstate New York’s hard-working families, small businesses, farms, veterans, and seniors,” Alex DeGrasse, senior adviser to Stefanik, said in a statement. 

Castelli said, “I’m honored by tonight’s victory and deeply grateful to the voters across this district who put their faith in me and our campaign to put country before party. I want to thank our hundreds of volunteers, our amazing campaign team – and of course, Mr. Putorti for the spirited race. This just became the most important race in the country. The frontline battle for the soul of America is right here in New York’s 21st district, and the nation is watching. Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow the work continues.” 

Here are local county breakdowns for the 21st and 22nd Congressional races (unofficial results as of Wednesday afternoon): 

22nd Congressional District

Oneida County   


Brandon Williams - 5,121 votes

Steve Wells - 3,705 votes


Francis Conole - 1,599 votes

Sarah Klee Hood - 2,597 votes

Chol Majok - 562 votes

Sam Roberts - 491 votes

Madison County    


Brandon Williams - 1,624 votes

Steve Wells - 1,270 votes


Francis Conole - 737 votes  

Sarah Klee Hood - 912 votes 

Chol Majok - 186 votes

Sam Roberts - 124 votes   

21st Congressional District

Herkimer County   


Matt Castelli - 651 votes

Matt Putorti - 119 votes  

Lewis County


Matt Castelli - 293 votes

Matt Putorti - 60 votes



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