Residents in the 22nd Congressional District are likely to go without a voting representative in the House of Representatives until at least mid- January, maybe longer if the court’s rulings are appealed, according to one political science professor.
“It is the last congressional district race to be decided in the country,” said Robert Spitzer, a political science professor at SUNY Cortland.
Incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) and Republican challenger Claudia Tenney have been sparring in state Supreme Court in Oswego County over ballots since soon after Election Day.
The gap between the two — with Tenney ahead by nearly 28,000 votes Election Night — is no longer certain. At one point, each candidate led by about a dozen votes.
By Dec. 22, Syracuse.com reported that three to five votes separated the two candidates, but didn’t say who led.
However, it could be as many as 14, said Luke Jackson, spokesman for Brindisi’s campaign. He said Brindisi is leading.
“As this process continues to play out, the Brindisi campaign believes NY-22 voters deserve to have their voices heard,” Jackson said in an email. We are hopeful that after this process is completed, Anthony will be the winner.”
Sean Kennedy, spokesman for Tenney’s campaign, said in an email that Brindisi’s lead is based on provisional ballots from areas that tend to favor Democrats. Once all the votes from more suburban areas are counted, he added, Tenney will lead.
According to both campaigns, thousands of votes must still be tallied and then reviewed by state Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte in Oswego County.
The judge ordered the district’s eight counties to re-submit a small number of contested ballots for the court’s consideration earlier this month due to issues uncovered during court hearings in late November.
The judge and attorneys for both campaigns had problems reviewing the contested ballots when it came time to argue whether they should count. So DelConte ordered counties to start the process over in some cases.
Spitzer said the counting process for the 22nd is scheduled to reconvene Monday.
“The biggest hold up seems to be Oneida County,” he said.
Spitzer said he isn’t sure why it has taken that county so long to recount votes, but perhaps one of the reasons was that some of the employees contracted coronavirus.