NY-22: Brindisi Reports Large Fundraising Advantage

Democratic congressional candidate Anthony Brindisi’s campaign on Friday announced it had raised more than $340,000 between April and June, opening up a large cash-on-hand advantage against Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney.

Tenney, a Republican freshman seeking a second term in the 22nd congressional district, raised $176,977 during the same time period.

“Rep. Tenney’s fancy fundraisers in Washington that cost $30,000 a ticket are no substitute for the grassroots fundraising powering our campaign in Upstate New York ,” said Ellen Foster, Brindisi’s campaign manager. “We pledged not to take a dime of corporate PAC money, and it’s clear that independence is what the voters of the 22nd district want.”

Brindisi, a member of the state Assembly, has an overall cash advantage, with nearly $1.2 million in the bank compared to $774,603 for Tenney.

NY-22: Brindisi Raises, Tenney Knocks Cuomo Help

Democratic congressional candidate Anthony Brindisi has raised $510,000 in the first quarter of 2018, bringing his cash on hand total to $800,000 in his campaign to unseat Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney.

Tenney, in turn, has bashed Brindisi ahead of a planned fundraiser with Gov. Andrew Cuomo later next week.

The race for the 22nd congressional district, spread across the Mohawk Valley and the Southern Tier, is shaping up to be one of the more competitive races this fall and is in the handful of seats Democrats hope to flip.

“I continue to be humbled and appreciative of the widespread support for this campaign” said Brindisi, a state assemblyman from Utica. “Our campaign isn’t funded by Wall Street Corporations or lobbyists that game the system against working families. Instead, we rely on small contributions from real people and that’s who I will represent in Congress.”

Tenney, a first-term lawmaker in the House, knocked Brindisi for the support he’s receiving from Cuomo, who is making a push to aid Democrats running in key legislative swing races at both the state and federal levels.

“Governor Cuomo is furiously competing with Nancy Pelosi to be Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi’s biggest donor. Brindisi will be right at home raising campaign cash with Cuomo and elite liberal millionaires from New York City who have more in common with Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco than the people of upstate New York,” said Raychel Renna, Tenney’s campaign manager.

DCCC Claims Brindisi Leads Tenney In NY-22

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is pointing to an Upstate district as part of the reason it believes it’s poised to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. The DCCC released polling data from 12 districts Tuesday showing Democratic challengers either competitive with or favored over incumbent Republicans.

“We’ve recruited and empowered Democratic candidates who fit their districts and have records of service to their communities and our country that resonate with voters. These Democrats are running deep into the battlefield, and their candidacies are breathing new energy into the party,” Executive Director Dan Sena said.

One of those 12 districts is NY-22 where Democrat Anthony Brindisi is challenging Republican Claudia Tenney. The committee said, according to the polling, 48 percent of voters favor a generic Republican candidate while 40 percent would plan to vote for a Democrat.

When asked specifically about Brindisi and Tenney though, the poll skews left. Fifty percent of voters say they prefer the Democrat while only 44 percent chose Tenney.

A spokesperson for the DCCC said they believe this shows Brindisi appeals to moderate Republicans in the district. He said Tenney meanwhile, appears to have moved further to the extreme with recent comments, including blaming the “deep state” for a controversy over a dining set bought for HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s office.

The National Republican Congressional Committee questioned the polls legitimacy.

“The DCCC has now resorted to cooking up phony polls to distract from Anthony Brindisi’s record of scandal and corruption in Albany. It won’t be enough,” spokesperson Chris Martin said.

The DCCC said the poll was a live call survey taken between March 8 and March 12 of 500 NY-22 likely November 2018 voters. It did not provide the results in their entirety but did point out the poll was commissioned by the Brindisi campaign and was conducted by an independent company.

NY-22: Giffords Endorses Brindisi (Updated)

The gun control organization founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly has endorsed Democratic congressional candidate Anthony Brindisi in the 22nd district.

The race for the House seat held by Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney is one of a handful of battleground races around the state.

“Anthony Brindisi recognizes that respecting responsible gun ownership is consistent with strong, effective gun laws,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords.

“As an assembly member, Anthony has been recognized for his commitment to working across the aisle to bring positive change to Upstate New York. In Congress, we know that he will continue to build support for measures that will keep New Yorkers – and Americans across the country

The endorsement comes as lawmakers in Albany are considering new gun control measures in the wake of a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.

Updated: The Tenney campaign responded in a statement.

“This is the latest evidence that Anthony Brindisi is a phony Albany politician who claims to represent law-abiding gun owners when in reality, he is backed by a gun control group and votes to fund Cuomo’s unconstitutional SAFE Act. When it comes to our Second Amendment rights, Brindisi will side with liberal gun-grabbers in Washington like Nancy Pelosi,” said Raychel Renna, Campaign Manager for Claudia Tenney for Congress. “Claudia Tenney is the only representative standing up for law-abiding gun owners in the Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier.”

Tenney: Many Mass Murderers ‘End Up Being Democrats’ (Updated)

Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney in a radio interview on Wednesday claimed without evidence “many of the people” who commit mass killings are Democrats.

Tenney was interview Wednesday morning by Fred Dicker on his “Focus On The State Capitol” radio show, discussing the shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people. The shooting has re-ignited a nationwide debate over gun control and a push for stronger background checks of those who buy firearms.

In the interview, Tenney said it was unfair that legal gun owners would face the brunt of any effort to crack down on firearms.

“I think the government really made a mistake in this area,” she said. “That’s what scares me most. A lot of legal gun owners are going to be targeted now.”

When Dicker mentioned gun crimes in urban areas, Tenney said of the gun control debate that “there’s a lot of politics in it.”

“It’s interesting that so many of the people who end up committing mass murders end up being Democrats,” she said. “But the media doesn’t want to talk about that, either.”

The comment in the interview went largely unremarked on for most of Wednesday until it was highlighted by Binghamton radio host Bob Joseph on Twitter. The comment itself comes at around 33:40 in the interview, which can be listened to here.

It’s not clear which incident or incidents Tenney is referring to in the interview. Last year, James Hodgkinson, a left-wing activist, opened fire on Republican lawmakers practicing for an upcoming congressional baseball game, seriously injuring GOP Rep. Steve Scalise and several others. Hodgkinson was the only death at the scene.

Photos on social media of the alleged shooter in Florida show him wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat and having made racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic comment in a private chat group.

An Internet meme that circulated online purporting to show Democratic murderers was deemed false.

Tenney, a former state lawmaker elected to Congress in 2016, is facing a challenge from Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi this year in what is expected to be a top-tier battleground race for the 22nd congressional district.

Brindisi’s campaign blasted Tenney in a statement.

“This toxic rhetoric is shameful coming from an elected official and is a new low even for Claudia Tenney,” Brindisi said. “She has disrespected the office she holds. Inserting politics into a national tragedy is beyond the pale and disgusting. She should apologize immediately to spare our region any more national embarrassment.”

The politics and emotion surrounding gun control has increased in the days after the shooting as students from Majory Stoneman Douglas High School have made publicly pleas for stronger laws. At the same time, false conspiracy theories have been floated by websites and social media that some of the students are “crisis actors” paid to protest.

Updated: Congresswoman Claudia Tenney issued a statement following backlash to her earlier comments.

“I am fed up with the media and liberals attempting to politicize tragedies and demonize law-abiding gun owners and conservative Americans every time there is a horrible tragedy,” Tenney said. “While we know the perpetrators of these atrocities have a wide variety of political views, my comments are in response to a question about the failure to prosecute illegal gun crime. I will continue to stand up for law-abiding citizens who are smeared by anti-gun liberal elitists.”

NY-22: Brindisi Named To Red To Blue Program

Democratic congressional candidate Anthony Brindisi on Wednesday has been named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Red to Blue program, a key step in his bid to flip a Republican-held central New York House seat.

“A lifelong Utica native, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi wakes up every single day with one mission—to fight for the middle-class families of central New York,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján.

“From fighting for education funding to bringing economic development to his community, Anthony has worked with members of both parties to solve problems and get things done. His independence, energy and toughness make Anthony one of the strongest challengers in the country.”

Brindisi is running for the district held by first-term Rep. Claudia Tenney, who is considered a top target for Democrats in 2018. The district includes the Mohawk Valley and parts of the Southern Tier regions.

The Red to Blue program is a competitive program for candidates identified as top-tier hopefuls, distinguishing them for their organizational and financial backing. So far, only 11 Democratic House candidates have received the designation.

Polling from Democrats has shown Brindisi with a narrow lead over Tenney.

NY-22: DCCC Internal Poll Indicates Tight Race

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said its candidate to challenge the incumbent in New York’s 22nd district is actually the early favorite for the mid-term election. The DCCC released the results Friday of a poll it recently conducted internally.

According to the poll of 561 likely voters, Democrat Anthony Brindisi holds a two point lead over Republican Claudia Tenney. The differences falls well within the +/- 4.1 percent margin of error.

Additionally though, the committee said the current state Assemblyman is strongly favored by women and Independent and unaffiliated voters, which it said will be crucial to the election.

Forty-one percent of likely voters also had an unfavorable rating of Tenney while only 36 percent had a favorable rating. The congresswoman’s campaign pointed out both she and the president had similar unfavorable ratings in a Siena Poll before the election last year, yet both managed to win the district comfortably.

The campaign also criticized the DCCC’s methodology and said its polls have regularly proven to be far off the mark.

“Elections are about choices. Anthony Brindisi is the hand-picked candidate of Andrew Cuomo and Nancy Pelosi. Once voters see where he really stands on the issues, they’ll know he’s too liberal and too corrupt for the 22nd District,” campaign spokesman Tim Edson said.

The DCCC said Brindisi also outperforms a generic Democrat by six points in the poll.

NY-22: Gillibrand Endorses Brindisi

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday endorsed Democratic Assembly Anthony Brindisi in his bid for the 22nd congressional district.

“In Albany Anthony Brindisi fought to protect jobs for the people of Upstate New York. He worked across party lines to deliver results for our community,” Gillibrand said. “He has shown he is a true champion for children and families, making sure they have the resources they need to be successful. We need more of that in Washington—someone interested in solutions, not political games.”

The district, represented by Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, runs from the Mohawk Valley to the state’s Southern Tier. Tenney was elected last year and is in her first term.

“I’m simply honored to have Senator Gillibrand’s support in this race,” Brindisi said. “She’s been a true leader for New York. I hope to work with her if I’m elected to Congress on critical issues that face this region like health care, education, and creating good-paying jobs for the people of Upstate New York.”

Fellow Assembly Dems Help Brindisi Raise Congressional Cash

They may be sorry to see him go, assuming he’s able to defeat incumbent Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney next year, but Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi’s Democratic colleagues are lining up to help raise cash for what’s expected to be an expensive and divisive race.

Assemblyman John McDonald, a Cohoes Democrat, forwarded his supporters an invitation to a Sept. 26 event being hosted for Brindisi by a number of upstaters – including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, who is fresh off a Democratic primary victory that all but assures her a second four-year term in November.

“I rarely send this type of email, however I am doing so today because of the respect I have for my colleague Anthony Brindisi who is running for Congress in an area adjacent to ours,” McDonald wrote.

“He is smart, young and hard working. He is a true advocate for both education and the hard-working middle class. Please consider supporting Anthony. He will be a great asset to the New York delegation in Washington.”

The event, which will take place at the Albany Center Gallery on Broadway, costs between $35 (for young professionals) to $2,700 (the maximum contribution) to attend. Members of the host committee, which is still in formation, include a number of other Assembly Democrats from both upstate and NYC.

The invitation describes Brindisi as a “top pick-up opportunity for the Democrats in NY-22.”

Though the race only recently got underway, it’s already taken a negative turn, which Brindisi and Tenney, who also used to be a member of the Assembly, trading barbs on everything from Brindisi’s father’s legal representation of mobsters to a town hall the congressman is scheduled to hold this coming Tuesday.

Tenney is already seeking to use Brindisi’s ties to fellow Democrats – including Gov. Andrew Cuomo – against him, calling him a “slick politician” who “pretends to be a moderate.”

Though Brindisi has insisted that he will shy away form “name calling,” his allies and outside interests seeking to assist him in ousting Tenney, will no doubt spend considerable time – and cash – playing up her steadfast support for President Donald Trump.

They will surely seek to paint her as too right wing for a district that was previously represented by a moderate Republican, Richard Hanna, who refused to endorse Tenney in the 2016 election cycle after she tried unsuccessfully to beat him in the 2014 GOP primary.

Tenney, Brindisi Spar Over Town Hall

Rep. Claudia Tenney, a conservative Republican who, like many of her House GOP colleagues, has generally shied away from public town hall meetings to avoiding becoming a target for liberal protestors, has announced plans to hold an event in Camden next Tuesday, sparking criticism from her 2018 Democratic opponent.

“The people of the 22nd District sent me to Washington to fight for them and to provide an independent voice for the hardworking middle class families, small businesses and family farmers who have been neglected by the Washington elite – and that’s exactly what I have done,” Tenney said in a statement.

“In Congress, I’ve fought tirelessly to revive New York’s manufacturing economy, bring jobs back to America, secure the border, rebuild our military and protect our veterans. I’ve stood up and challenged the failed policies of the political class, while at the same time successfully working across the aisle to deliver real results that benefit our community.”

“I look forward to hearing from the people of the 22nd District, and sharing all that I have accomplished for our region during my brief time in Congress.”

Tenney’s town hall, which will be held at 7 p.m. at Nicole’s of Camden on State Route 13, is only open to NY-22 constituents. It requires an RSVP and tickets are non-transferrable. Duplicate or copied tickets won’t be accepted.

The congresswoman had previously balked at holding town halls, arguing that similar events had become a rallying point for what she deemed “paid protestors” who “have no interest in dialogue.”

She was referring to members of the Indivisible movement – an effort inspired by Democratic operatives and encouraged by national party leaders that has adopted Tea Party tactics to target members of Congress in their home districts to “resist the Trump agenda.”

The congresswoman also cited death threats she had received as another reason she had decided to forgo town halls.

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, a Utica Democrat who in June announced plans to challenge Tenney next fall and has been trading barbs with her ever since, slammed Tenney for planning what he deemed a “fake” town hall that is really a “campaign event.”

“It is suspicious that a question and answer session with the Congresswoman would not be sponsored by her official office, so that people attending who need help with a federal agency can receive assistance at the event by caseworkers,” Brindisi said.

“A campaign-sponsored event is simply not the same thing. In addition, attendees may even be screened for party affiliation or other means, since this is a campaign event.”

Brindisi also accused Tenney of being unable to “snap out of campaign mode.”

The congresswoman’s campaign spokesman, Tim Edson, responded with another statement, calling Brindisi a “fake news machine, and a fake moderate,” adding:

“Rep. Claudia Tenney is having a town hall meeting and it is open and being promoted to the general public,” Edison said. “Unfortunately, paid field organizers from the NY Democratic Party are already working overtime to organize protesters to disrupt the event and prevent a constructive dialogue.”

“These protesters do not want to productively discuss the issues with Rep. Tenney, instead they want to use the town hall as a platform for self-promotion.”

“Despite this, Claudia is following through on her promise to hold a town hall meeting in addition to tele-town halls and numerous other public events she has already held throughout the district to continue to be accessible to her constituents.”

Edson also forwarded reporters a photo of several people protesting outside a Tenney event, including Jon Lipe, who is a staffer paid by the state Democratic Committee. Edson accused Lipe of spearheading the organizing effort against the congresswoman, who is among the Democrats’ top 2018 targets.