A hotly contested election in New York’s 22nd congressional district could play a major role in determining which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives next year. This Central New York race features Rep. Claudia Tenney, a Republican serving her first term in the House after completing three terms in the New York State Assembly, and Democratic Asm. Anthony Brindisi, who has represented Assembly District 119 since 2011.
New York’s 22nd congressional district has a history of electing moderate Republicans to the House of Representatives. Moderate Republican Rep. Sherwood Boehlert represented Central New York in Congress for 24 years, and socially liberal Republican Rep. Richard Hanna did so for six years before retiring in 2017. Rep. Tenney changed that. In 2014, then-Asm. Tenney—an outspoken, Tea Party-affiliated conservative—mounted a primary challenge to Rep. Hanna and lost, 53%-47%. In 2016, Asm. Tenney made it known that she intended to challenge Rep. Hanna again, and Rep. Hanna opted to retire. Rep. Tenney went on to win a three-way race with 44% of the vote. While Rep. Tenney is more conservative than other recent Republican congressmembers from her district have been, Asm. Brindisi—a centrist-leaning Democrat who voted against the SAFE Act—is more liberal than they were. Because of the Republican tilt of the district, Rep. Tenney is touting her support for President Donald Trump; Asm. Brindisi, however, has carefully avoided the inflamed anti-Trump rhetoric that many of his Democratic colleagues have employed.
Multiple political pundits have rated the race a toss-up. Will Central New York voters continue to embrace Rep. Tenney’s brand of no-nonsense conservatism? Or will they opt for the more liberal Asm. Brindisi? We’ll find out on November 6.