Being Right: Tenney is the Right Choice for NY-22

Patrick Taylor, Staff Writer

The congressional race in New York’s 22nd district looks to be as competitive as ever this fall. Following a nail-biter of an election in 2018, in which then-state assemblyman Anthony Brindisi narrowly unseated incumbent Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, Brindisi is seeking reelection. Tenney, once again, is the Republican nominee for the district’s seat and just like the last election cycle, both the Democratic and Republican parties see this race as winnable. As such, both parties are making large investments in the district and rolling out big-name endorsements. This time, Brindisi can no longer portray himself as the pragmatic outsider in the race; he is an incumbent congressman with a record to defend. And given the atrocious quality of this record, it is clear that the people of the district should dump Brindisi and bring back their former congresswoman.

Let’s begin with what has changed since the last election cycle. Congressman Brindisi has made it all too obvious that he is not the independent thinker he once claimed to be. Despite his efforts to hide this, Brindisi has become something of a party-line Democrat. To illustrate this, I urge you to take a look at FiveThirtyEight’s project, Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump. FiveThirtyEight reveals that Rep. Brindisi only votes with the president about eleven percent of the time; this is less frequent than Brooklyn’s Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Bronx’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and even San Francisco’s Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Looking at these statistics, it seems strange that Congressman Brindisi is representing the 22nd district, a hardworking, largely rural and socially conservative district. Brindisi would lead you to believe that he is simply a moderate pragmatist stuck in a divided Congress. This is far from the truth. Let’s compare Brindisi to an actually moderate Democrat representing a comparable district: rural Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson. Democratic Rep. Peterson is willing to vote with the president over 47 percent of the time; in other words, he sides with the President when he feels it would help his district. As a conservative, I’m not particularly thrilled about Peterson taking up this otherwise Republican seat. However, this gap between Rep. Peterson’s voting record and his constituency pales in comparison to the monstrous cavern between Brindisi’s voting record and the values of NY-22.

Now that I’ve established that Rep. Brindisi is a mismatch for his district, we should take a look at what he cites as his accomplishments. Perhaps the most significant of these is the SPOONSS Act, which requires the Department of Defense to buy American-made steel flatware. While Brindisi is all too eager to take credit for the passage of this bill, he always seems to conspicuously omit the person who actually wrote it: then-Rep. Tenney.

When he’s not busy piggybacking off of his opponent’s bills, Rep. Brindisi likes to tout his supposed resistance to the telecommunications and mass media company, Spectrum. If he has done anything to fight back against Spectrum, it sure hasn’t done much. While in office, Brindisi has taken nearly 400,000 dollars from Spectrum corporate PACs. If he were doing anything that could possibly damage the telecom giant’s stranglehold on the region, I find it doubtful that Spectrum would be happy to open their checkbook for the Congressman. Yet again, Brindisi assumes that the voters of NY-22 will simply look past this.

In contrast to Rep. Brindisi, fmr. Rep. Tenney is a far better fit for this district. Given that New York’s 22nd district overwhelmingly supported President Donald Trump, it makes sense for them to be represented by someone who is willing to work with him. In this respect, the choice is clear: Brindisi twice voted in favor of impeaching Trump, while Tenney backs the President. Furthermore, Tenney has experience in business and worked to deliver tax cuts for 98 percent of her constituents. Brindisi, in comparison, attacked the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and continues to ignore the positive results it brought to his district.

NY-22 needs a fighter, and after Brindisi’s first two years in Washington, it’s clear that he has not been a fighter for the people of Upstate and Central New York. I urge the voters of NY-22 to prevent Brindisi from doing more damage to the region, and instead cast their vote for former Congresswoman Tenney.