New York’s 22nd Congressional Race has had the kind of back and forth you would be more likely to see at Wimbeldon than in an American political contest. In the latest volley, a Monday morning press release by former Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, the narrow lead claimed late last week by Democrat incumbent Anthony Brindisi is now an advantage for Tenney by the same margin, 13 votes.
It was expected that the rematch of the 2018 race would be tight. Brindisi unseated Tenney by just under 4,500 votes. In unofficial vote totals submitted last week to State Supreme County Judge Scott DelConte by the eight counties that make up the district, Brindisi held a 13 vote advantage. The Tenney campaign release on Monday said that a tabulation error was discovered by the Herkimer County Board of Election and the updated figures gave the Republican candidate the lead. The Tenney campaign release noted that the Brindisi campaign had submitted to Judge DelConte a notice of these developments.
A review of that notice shows that Judge DelConte had ordered the eight county Boards of Election to submit their “final” vote totals to the court no later than November 25th. An attorney for Brindisi told Judge DelConte that he got a call from the counsel for the Herkimer County Board of Election explaining that on Friday, November 27th, Herkimer County discovered some errors in their tabulation reported to Judge DelConte two days earlier. The Herkimer County counsel said that the error was reported to the court clerk on Saturday and they were waiting for instructions from the judge.
Sunday morning, a Syracuse talk show host tweeted that the Herkimer County revision had given Tenney the 13 vote lead. The Brindisi campaign complained to Judge DelConte that that was the first time they had heard of the recount in Herkimer County.
Early Monday afternoon, Judge DelConte issued three orders. First bars any of the eight Boards of Election from alteration, changes or amendments to any worksheet, tally sheet, spreadsheet or other election tallying records either formally or informally. Second, all eight Boards of Election shall preserve and secure all written and digital records of any nature relating to the tallying, canvassing or recanvassing of all ballots. Third, all eight Boards of Election shall submit a final report of their original canvass of all ballots (early voting, Election Day voting, absentee voting, affidavit voting and military voting) no later than 4:00PM on Monday, November 30, 2020.
Judge DelConte rescheduled the day for motion filing to Wednesday, December 2nd with response to any filing by Thursday, December 3rd and cross motions for Friday, December 4th. Oral arguments are set for Monday, December 7th at 1:00PM. December 7, 2020 is the date that New York State is scheduled to certify results of the General Election.
In the end, whenever that comes, the 2020 NY 22nd Congressional race is destined to set records in three categories, the most money ever spent on a Congressional race in this area, the more than 310,000 votes cast is the most ever in a local Congressional race and the margin of victory is sure to be smaller than the 138 votes that John Davies defeated incumbent Hadwen Fuller in 1948.