Tenney maintains slim lead as 22nd District as congressional race before court

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The outcome of the 22nd Congressional District election is likely to be determined in court as a state judge reviews ballot counting from the eight counties in the sprawling district.

Republican Claudia Tenney expressed confidence that a narrow lead of as little as about 100 votes will hold up under further scrutiny in her bid to reclaim the 22nd Congressional District seat after all counties reported their absentee and affidavit ballots.

First-term incumbent Anthony Brindisi, meanwhile, noted that the results are yet to be certified and did not concede.

Media estimates of the difference in the candidates’ respective vote totals range from fewer than 100 to nearly 300, resulting from differing ways each board of elections reports absentee, affidavit, military and overseas ballots and when.

Cook Political Report U.S. House editor Dave Wasserman put the gap at 75 votes. The Associated Press did not call a winner.

Remaining uncounted ballots are subject to judicial review. Both Tenney and Brindisi asked Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte of Oswego County to oversee ballot counting and were conferring with the judge late Thursday.

DelConte had ordered disputed ballots to be photocopied and resealed under a precedent in similar previous cases in New York.

The reported vote totals do not include all ballots, and counties have begun reporting to the court what remains.

Oneida County Assistant Attorney Robert Pronteau reported to Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte that 26 uncounted ballots remained in Oneida County, including 12 objected to by the Brindisi campaign and 14 by the Tenney campaign. In addition, two absentee ballots objected to by the Tenney campaign were opened, cast and copies placed in envelopes and resealed as called for in DelConte’s order in the matter.

Also, nine absentee ballots in Oneida County were rejected by the elections commissioners over Brindisi objections and not counted. Approximately 1,500 affidavit ballots were rejected by the commissioners and not counted, according to the county’s report to the court.

Madison County reported that it has 132 absentee ballots set aside under the court-directed method due to objections from the Tenney campaign. In addition it has 140 affidavit ballots, mostly from people not registered and several who said their address is not in Madison County or voting in the wrong district, as well as absentee ballots pulled when the person voted in-person, wrote on or signed their ballot, put in other materials or were received too late.

Oswego County reported today to DelConte that it has at least 63 ballots yet to be counted. Those include ballots from military personnel, 29 special federal ballots, and ballots from overseas U.S. citizens.

Broome County reported 108 ballots objected to by the Tenney campaign, as well as 358 ballots administratively rejected by the commissioners.

Both campaigns issued statements after Chenango County reported its absentee totals late Thursday afternoon.

Tenney said it’s unlikely the outcome will change. “Now that every vote has been counted, we have maintained the vote lead and are poised to come out victorious,” the former Assemblywoman from New Hartford said.

“This process has been long but it is critical that every legal vote be counted and accounted for. Now that it is done, I am confident that I will be certified the winner soon. I look forward to going to Washington to serve the all people of New York’s 22nd District in Congress and want to thank the voters for that privilege. I will always fight for and serve all the people of this district including those that did not support me.”

Brindisi campaign spokesman Luke Jackson thanked election workers and pointed to the incumbent’s gain since Election Day.

“NY-22’s election officials have been working day and night to count each and every vote, which is both hard and time consuming work. We owe these folks a debt of gratitude, and we thank them,” Jackson said. “As today’s numbers show, Congressman Brindisi continues to gain meaningful ground. With a margin this close, New York voters deserve to have their voices heard. Once every legal ballot is counted and certified, the people will decide who goes to Congress. The stakes are too high and the margin too close to rush to judgment.”

The contest is a rematch of 2018, when Brindisi prevailed by fewer than 4,500 votes after counting of absentee ballots.

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