WASHINGTON — When it comes to endorsements in the race for New York’s 22nd Congressional District, former U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney has claimed the biggest early prize.
Tenney, who from 2017 to 2019 represented the sprawling district that includes eastern Oswego County, received the full-throated backing of President Donald Trump this week.
“Claudia Tenney is a fantastic candidate running in New York, where she was a Great member of Congress,” the president tweeted Wednesday. Tenney was defeated in the 2018 election by current U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica and she will seek to reclaim her former seat this November.
Tenney said she was “honored to have the support” of Trump in the race to “take back NY-22.”
“Upstate New York is excited to join President Trump in the Great American Comeback,” Tenney said on social media.
An attorney and former member of the New York State Assembly, Tenney established herself as a fierce conservative member of Congress during her sole term. She frequently collaborated with the White House and received Trump’s endorsement in the 2018 election.
Trump also pointed to several issues on which he deemed Tenney “strong”: “crime, borders, cutting taxes, your (Second Amendment), and she loves our military and our vets,” Trump said via his preferred method of public communication. “Claudia has my complete and total endorsement!”
Tenney is positioned well for the upcoming campaign: she reported more than $300,000 raised in the final quarter of 2019 and has been racking support from local GOP leaders. The Oswego County Republican Committee has lent their “enthusiastic endorsement” to Tenney with committee chairman Fred Beardsley saying Tenney “has been a fighter for our region and Oswego County since day one.”
“She is the only candidate in the race with the financial and political support to beat Anthony Brindisi next November,” Beardsley said. “We are excited to work with her this cycle and know she will be successful in taking back this seat.”
Two other Republicans — George Phillips and Franklin Sager, both of Broome County — have indicated they will contest the party’s nomination in a June 23 primary.
Brindisi’s 2018 victory came by a razor-thin margin of 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent. The freshman Congressman responded to Trump’s endorsement of Tenney with a brief fundraising appeal.
“I need you with me in this fight,” Brindisi wrote on social media. “President Trump just endorsed my opponent and with it will come big checks from big donors — but we have grassroots energy and people power on our side.”
Election Day is Nov. 3.