ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/WSYR) — New York state elections officials certified Republican Claudia Tenney’s razor-thin victory over U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, more than three months after Election Day.
The certification came after a state judge ruled that Tenney won the race for central New York’s 22nd Congressional District by 109 votes in the nation’s last undecided congressional race. Judge Scott DelConte’s decision Friday effectively cleared the way for Tenney to be sworn in, barring emergency intervention by a state appeals court.
DelConte directed New York to certify results immediately. Commissioners with the state Board of Elections approved the results Monday in less than two minutes.
Tenney had been the district’s representative for one term, until she was defeated by Brindisi, a Democrat, in 2018.
“Claudia looks forward to serving her constituents once again as their duly-elected representative in Congress,” campaign spokesperson Nick Stewart said in a prepared statement.
There was no immediate comment from the Brindisi campaign.
DelConte’s ruling came after he spent three months reviewing ballot challenges and trying to fix a series of problems with vote tabulations. Tallies shifted as county election officials counted a flood of absentee ballots and courts weighed in on which challenged ballots could be counted.
DelConte rejected an argument by Brindisi’s lawyers that certification of the election results should be delayed until an appeals court had a chance to review the case. The judge said that even if the results end up changing after any litigation, New York could simply amend its certification.
The judge said only the U.S. House can order a new election or recount at this point. DelConte said Brindisi can still challenge the election in the House and potentially unseat Tenney. For his part, Brindisi’s released a statement Monday conceding:
“Today I congratulated Claudia Tenney and offered to make the transition process as smooth as possible on behalf of our community. I hope that she will be a Representative for all the people of this district, not just those that agree with her point of view, and work with members of both parties to heal the deep divisions that exist in our Country.
It has been the honor of a lifetime serving my hometown, the place I grew up and am raising my family. Unfortunately, this election and counting process was riddled with errors, inconsistencies, and systematic violations of state and federal election laws. My one disappointment is that the Court did not see fit to grant us a recount. Sadly, we may never know how many legal voters were turned away at the polls or ballots not counted due to the ineptitude of the Boards of Election, especially in Oneida County. My hope is some authority steps in and investigates the massive disenfranchisement of voters that took place during this election.
I am proud of the accomplishments we have made together during the past two years. Whether it’s strengthening laws to support jobs here in upstate New York, working to help end the epidemic of veteran suicide or fighting to deliver resources to rural and underserved communities, I have always put politics aside and put the people first.
I want to thank my family, especially my wife Erica and two children, Anthony and Lily for their patience, love and support. I want to thank my excellent staff. I have been fortunate to work with some of the most dedicated and talented professionals in public service. I also want to thank my campaign team for their hard work and for sticking with me during this lengthy and complicated count. Finally, thank you to all of our volunteers and this community for giving me the opportunity to serve you in Congress.
It is time to close the book on this election and focus on building a better community and more united Country for our children.”
Democrats control the U.S. House with 221 seats, while Republicans have 211 seats.