Democrat Anthony Brindisi holds a 1,400-vote lead in the race for the 22nd Congressional District over incumbent Republican Claudia Tenney in a nationally watched campaign, as Democrats reclaimed a majority in the House of Representatives.
However, Tenney has yet to concede the race, saying 11,417 absentee ballots remain to be counted –– as of this morning –– and just a 1,400 vote difference between her and Brindisi.
There were 16,597 absentee ballots sent out across the district, reports the state Board of Elections. If the ballots are postmarked by Nov. 5, they have until Nov. 13 to be received and counted. So the more than 11,000 ballots received could still grow by next week.
“With over 10,000 absentee ballots left to count, this race is still too close to call,” said Raychel Renna, Tenney’s campaign manager. “Over the next few days and weeks our team will participate in the re-canvass process and review the absentee ballots.”
Cortland County sent out 1,214 absentee ballots and received 921. It’ll be a week before they are counted.
In total, Utica-based Brindisi, the Assemblyman for the 119th District, won 117,779 votes, against the 116,357 won by Tenney, of New Hartford.
In Cortland County, Brindisi got about 1,600 votes more votes than Tenney, 8,597 to 6,970.
“I am very pleased not only that Anthony won but that Cortland County did its part in helping him achieve that victory,” said Cortland County Democratic Committee Chairman Tim Perfetti.
Cortland County Republican Committee Chairwoman Connie White said Tenney’s performance was unfortunate, but not unexpected.
“I would have liked Claudia to do better but it’s approximately how well she did two years ago,” White said.
Democrats taking control of the House ends eight years of Republican control. As of early today, Democrats have a slim lead, however, with 219 seats, versus Republican’s 193 seat. Another 23 races remain undetermined, according to the Associated Press.
With the control, Democrats will get to lead important committees, have expansive powers to investigate the president, his business dealings and the inner workings of this administration, including whether anyone from the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election, according to the Associated Press.
A lot of attention was put on the race for the 22nd Congressional District seat, knowing it could be a swing vote. The Trump family helped campaign for Tenney –– Ivanka Trump visited Cortland County in July. But while Tenney’s campaigns stops were private invites, Brindisi held several open town halls.
One of Brindisi’s focuses as congressman will be helping businesses and bringing jobs to Cortland County. Skills training and making sure individuals have the right skills to fill available jobs is one way he plans on doing that.
He would like to see more focus at the federal level at preparing young people for jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree.
Brindisi has also said he wants to see a tax code that focuses on benefiting small businesses, rather than Fortune 500 companies.
One industry in particular he would like to help is agriculture.
Brindisi has said he would like to serve on the Agriculture Committee in Congress, to be an advocate for farmers.
“They are getting a raw deal,” he has said. “Washington is quick to bail out Wall Street, but when upstate dairy farmers need help, our representatives are nowhere to be found.”
Brindisi has said he would call for a national hearing on dairy prices to find a solution to low milk prices.
To further help farms, Brindisi has stated he would like to see a full-time employee plan for immigrant workers.
“They (farmers) need a dependable work force, otherwise they could go out of business,” he has said.
Brindisi said has he would push for bipartisan immigration reform, but he is also open to all ideas.
Getting Democrats and Republicans to work together is a goal of Brindisi’s to stop political divisiveness.
“If it is a good idea, I am going to vote for it,” Brindisi has said. “It doesn’t matter if is a Democrat’s idea or a Republican’s idea.”