The state Board of Elections officially certified Republican Claudia Tenney as the winner of a drawn-out election rematch against upstate Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi following a marathon three-month recount.
It’s the last 2020 congressional race in the country to be decided following disputes over mail-in ballots.
The election board’s four commissioners unanimously certified the results Monday in a voice vote after a state judge overseeing disputed ballots in the recount issued a ruling Friday in Tenney’s favor.
The lengthy recount and reported irregularities has been a black eye on New York’s handling of elections amid the pandemic.
Tenney led Brindisi by 109 votes — 156,099 votes to Brindisi’s 155,989.
Brindisi defeated incumbent Tenney in 2018 during the blue wave midterm congressional elections. But Tenney has reclaimed her seat that covers eight counties — including the Binghamton and Utica regions.
“Every single valid vote that was cast in New York’s 22nd Congressional District has been accounted for, and counted,” wrote state Supreme Court Justice Scott Del Conte, who oversaw the disputed recount, in a ruling released Friday.
“I’m honored to have won this race. It was a hard-fought campaign and I thank Anthony Brindisi for his service. Now that every legal vote has been counted, it’s time for the results to be certified,” Tenney said.
“The voters need a voice in Congress, and I look forward to getting to work on behalf of New York’s 22nd Congressional District.”
Brindisi threw in the towel and said he would not file an appeal to contest Tenney’s victory in court or in the House of Representatives.
“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,” Brindisi said.
“It is time to close the book on this election and focus on building a better community and more united Country for our children.”
Del Conte, in his nine-page decision, slammed county election officials for “systemic violations of state and federal election law” that affected both candidates.
He rapped Oneida County’s failure to process more than 2,400 applications from voters who registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
But the judge determined that it’s up to the state elections board and Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature — not the courts — to fix errors.
Del Conte said there was no deliberate fraud.
Tenney is expected to be sworn in this week as the representative again for the 22nd Congressional District.