ALBANY, NY – Republican Claudia Tenney won out over Democratic MP Anthony Brindisi on Friday. This was a competition that promises to go further.
More than three months after election day and a chaotic review of several election categories, A New York State judge ordered all eight counties in the 22nd Congressional District to confirm their countsshowing that Tenney won the lengthy rematch by 109 votes.
Clutter but no cheating: State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte criticized the local elections for “systematic violations of federal and state electoral law” affecting both parties. But that’s up to the State Board of Elections, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the US Department of Justice, not his court, he said. He also noted that despite all the flaws, there was no fraud.
“Every single valid vote cast in New York’s 22nd Congressional District has been considered and counted,” he wrote.
Although the Brindisi legal team has announced it will appeal one or more of the decisions made in the past 90 days, the certification paves the way for Tenney to regain the seat in the House of Representatives they had for a term prior to Brindisi’s “Blue Wave Victory of the Year 2018.
A Tenney win would bring the GOP women in the house to just 30. The caucus had just 13 at the end of the 2018 cycle. Their victory would also have removed the House Republicans just five seats from recapturing the majority in 2022.
The hail Mary: DelConte was considering a last minute request from Brindisi on Friday to postpone ordering a certificate of vote. Brindisi lawyers argued that irreparable harm could result if a future appeal court ruling changed the election winner after Tenney was already in Congress. An appeals court could recommend the House make the change, but ultimately the decision would be taken at the federal level, which would overturn Brindisi from a final ruling by the New York courts, his attorney Bruce Spiva said.
Tenney’s attorneys said the damage cannot be classified as irreparable as there is an option for the house to remove a member if it is warranted.
Finally, DelConte said that Brindisi’s request to prevent certification would require stronger evidence that any decision would be completely irreversible.
“I was asked to stop the election, not to keep my order, but to stop the election, and that is a very heavy burden,” he told lawyers on Friday.
No final result yet: The order for a final count gives Tenney the way to take the place. However, the Brindisi team agreed to appeal against several hundred controversial ballots that DelConte had alleged had not been legally cast. They are currently still reviewing the order to decide where, at the state or federal level, they will advocate a full hand exam.
Ally Mutnick contributed to this report.