After more than three months since the November election and dozens of days in court, former Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney is headed back to Congress.
A New York State supreme court justice ruled on Friday that Oneida County and the State Board of Elections can certify its final results for New York’s 22nd Congressional Race, which has Tenney up by 109 votes over Democratic incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi.
While there are likely legal challenges ahead – Brindisi’s lawyers are appealing the ruling to the Appellate Division, saying certification should be paused until after a hand count – the decision means Tenney will be seated in House of Representatives.
Tenney took to Twitter to write “after 94 days of hard fought election process, I am grateful to the voters and supporters for having once again the privilege of serving our community in the House of Representatives.”
The outcome is a pickup for the GOP.
When Tenney’s sworn-in, the Democrats’ majority in the House will shrink to 221-212 over the Republicans.
Two vacancies remain, and they’re both in Louisiana. One is the seat that was held by former Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond, who joined President Biden’s administration last month. The other was the seat won last November by late GOP Rep.-elect Luke Letlow.
The new margin means the Democrats will only be able to lose four votes and still be able to pass a bill without help from House Republicans.
FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney signals she successfully cast her ballot after voting at St. George’s Church in New Hartford, N.Y. On Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, Chenango County informed a state judge it had discovered 55 early voting ballots that weren’t canvassed by the local board of election, and therefore weren’t included in the vote totals in the ultra-tight race between Tenney and U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi. The most recent results — which don’t include those ballots — showed Tenney with a 12-vote lead over Brindisi. (AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth, File)
Tenney was first elected to Congress in 2016, with Brindisi ousting her in 2018.
With such an extremely close vote tally between the two candidates, the campaigns have battled in court since November over everything, including what appeared to be an extra mark on a contested paper ballot. The two sides disagreed over whether the mark was a bloodstain or a smudge of chocolate. It was an important distinction – as blood is considered an identifying marker on ballots.
The upstate New York district includes the cities of Utica, Rome, Cortland, and Binghamton, and some of the suburbs of Syracuse.
Rep. Tom Emmer, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, congratulated Tenney, calling her “a proven fighter for upstate New York who will pick up right where she left off delivering bipartisan solutions for her district.”