Fierce Brindisi-Tenney contest fuels excitement in CNY midterm elections

CNY voters head to the polls for historic midterm elections

Democracy in Action reporters talked to local voters about a possible 'blue wave' and the millennial vote.
Published: November 6, 2018

Weeks after the race for New York’s 22nd U.S. Congressional district, Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney fell too far behind in absentee ballot votes and conceded to Democratic challenger Anthony Brindisi on November 28.

In her concession statement, Tenney said, “As the votes have been counted the last several weeks, it has become clear that while we remain on the right side of the issues and history, we came out on the wrong side of a very close race.” This outcome marks another instance of a Democrat taking over a Republican seat in the 2018 midterm elections.

On the night of elections, in one of the most closely watched races for New York’s 22nd U.S. Congressional district, Brindisi appeared to have edged out Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney.

By 12:40 a.m., Brindisi held a narrow lead with 50.3 percent of the vote over Rep. Tenney’s 49.7 percent. Absentee ballots still needed to be counted.

As part of Democracy in Action, a collaborative election day project, SU’s student journalists fanned out across CNY to speak with voters about their thoughts on the importance of voting, and the possibility of a ‘blue wave’ sweeping the nation.

Here are a few highlights from election day reporting in central New York:

A close call

Anthony Brindisi campaign event on Nov. 6, 2018, at the Delta Hotel in Utica, N.Y.

UTICA — As of 1 a.m., Anthony Brindisi leads Claudia Tenney 49.54 percent to 48.94 percent, with all 565 election districts reporting. For Brindisi, that was enough to call it a race.

“Who’s ready to go to Washington with me?” Brindisi asked as he took the stage after several media outlets called the race in his favor.

Still, a little over 1,000 votes separated the Democratic challenger from Republican incumbent Congresswoman Claudia Tenney.

Listen to reporter Zachary Levine’s report from Anthony Brindisi election night campaign party

“We started this campaign together with just one idea, one idea that we were going to put the working people, the middle class ahead of the special interests,” Brindisi told the crowd of about 200 people packed into Downtown Utica’s Delta Hotel. “I think we showed that tonight.

“We were outnumbered, we had a lot of money spent against us, a lot of billionaires, a lot of millionaires spending money, but we showed them,” he exclaimed.

For Brindisi supporters, Tuesday’s likely victory was thrilling.

“We’ve been working on this for so long, and it’s very exciting,” voter Ron Claufenstein said after Brindisi’s speech. “We are going to have a representative who will really represent us.

“It’s going to be a big change for this district.”

As absentee ballots are counted in the upcoming days, Brindisi hopes his slim lead is enough to confirm his victory.

-Zachary Levine 

She “hasn’t lost yet”

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney joined supporters in New Hartford last night as votes came in slightly favoring her opponent, Anthony Brindisi. In a reluctant, pseudo-concession speech, Tenney said she “hasn’t lost yet” and that she will continue to fight for the people of New York’s 22nd District.

Listen to reporter Natalie Maier’s report from Claudia Tenney election night campaign party


As of Wednesday morning, the race remains too close to call, with Brindisi still in the lead. Despite support from the President and many other Washington insiders along the campaign trail, it looks like Tenney may concede the seat to her democratic opponent after only 2 years in office.

-Natalie Maier

Syracuse Residents Wait to See Whether Congressional ‘Blue Wave’ Predictions Come True

On a rainy morning at Elmwood School in Syracuse, New York, Southside voters trickled in to cast votes that will determine whether the ‘blue wave’ predictions are nothing more than polling inaccuracies.

Throughout the weeks leading up to the midterm elections, polls have indicated that Democrats should be able to achieve a ‘blue wave,’ a term used for the party’s goal of taking back the House of Representatives majority with the potential to do the same in the Senate.

-Rachel Day

Early Bird Voters Show Concern About Millennial Turnout

Early bird voters at Nottingham High School expressed their concerns over the millennial vote and how that could play a factor for this election and future elections. Numbers are down across the board for millennial voting and the hope is that they will increase this year.

-Dominick Muccilo

The Seasons are Changing, but will our Politician Makeup do the same in State and National Elections?

Syracuse, N.Y. (Democracy In Action)- Change could be on the way, and not just the seasonal one.

The 2018 Midterm Elections are here and many people are using this as an opportunity to make their voices heard.

“I think this could be a very important election for us going forward here, just with how polarizing politics are now,” said afternoon voter Kramer Cook. “I think there is definitely some people that regretted not going out and voting in 2016.”

-Nicholas Kuzma