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.

Tenney: Trump Right To Condemn ‘Both Sides’

Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney on Wednesday told reporters she backed President Trump’s comments condemning racism and violence on “both sides” of violent clashes in Virginia.

Tenney, elected last year to the 22nd congressional district, said she did not see Trump’s press conference on Tuesday in which he criticized counter demonstrators as the “alt left” and suggested some of the protesters who opposed the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee were peaceful and quiet.

“I didn’t see the president’s press conference yesterday,” Tenney said. “I think what the president did in condemning racism, condemning this white supremacy, condemning any kind of identity politics that are going on and this violence that is occurring on both sides, I think it’s the right thing to do.”

Tenney pointed to her trip to Israel and her meeting a Holocaust survivor, which she said reinforced the notion of pushing for peace.

“We need to continue to be advocates,” she said. “We can’t be bystanders. We have to stand up against this type of unfortunate situation that’s happening with humanity.”

Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, a candidate to challenge Tenney next year, blasted Trump’s Tuesday news conference, citing the action of white supremacist leaders.

“He was giving them cover for their despicable behavior that was displayed this weekend in Virginia,” he said. “There’s no place for it in this country in 2017. There’s no place for this and we certainly can’t turn a blind eye to the hatred that we’re seeing in Charlottesville.”

NY-22: Tenney Raises $300K In Q2

Rep. Claudia Tenney’s re-election campaign on Friday announced she had raised $300,000 in the second quarter filing period.

All told this year Tenney has raised $600,000 in the first six months of 2017. She has a cash-on-hand total of $437,000.

Tenney was elected to the 22nd congressional district last year, replacing Rep. Richard Hanna. The district stretches from central New York to the Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier.

“I would like to thank everyone who stood with me and generously supported our campaign,” Tenney said. “The small dollar grassroots contributions always mean the most. In all my campaigns, for State Assembly, and for Congress, we’ve been outspent, but we’ve always had good, hardworking people on our side who are tired of politics as usual in New York, and Washington. Having their support, and the opportunity to fight for them is such an honor.”

Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi has announced he will challenge Tenney for a second term next year.

NY-22: Tenney Takes Pre-Emptive Swipe At Brindisi

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi will launch his campaign for the House seat held by freshman Rep. Claudia Tenney with an event planned for Utica on Wednesday.

But Tenney is wasting little time to define her potential general election opponent for what could be a hotly contest congressional district next year.

“Frankly, I am excited that Anthony Brindisi has chosen to run for Congress because voters will have a very clear choice,” she said in a statement.

“I have spent years fighting for small business owners, family farms, hardworking families and the neediest among us against the corrupt, rigged system that has allowed Albany politicians and their cronies to literally steal from upstate New Yorkers while destroying our economy. I continue fighting that rigged system and those policies each day that I have the honor of representing upstate New York in Congress.”

She called Brindisi a “slick politician” who “pretends to be a moderate.”

“Brindisi has worked hand-in-hand with Andrew Cuomo to make New York the highest taxed state in the nation, driving our residents and jobs out in record numbers,” she said. “Brindisi has advocated for and voted for Cuomo’s corrupt, self-serving initiatives like Start-Up NY, the corrupt and tragic Oneida Deal and the Buffalo Billion. After endorsing Hillary Clinton for President it is clear Brindisi will be nothing more than a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi’s extreme left-wing agenda in Congress.”

Tenney served in a neighboring Assembly district to Brindisi’s central New York district, winning a three-way race last year for the seat vacated by outgoing Rep. Richard Hanna.