On Monday, the New York State Board of Elections certified the results of the neck-and-neck race in the state’s 22nd Congressional District in favor of Republican Claudia Tenney. With that win and the concession of former Democratic representative Anthony Brindisi, the 2020 cycle has finally come to an end, 97 days after the November election.
The certification came days after a state judge ruled that Tenney had won by just 109 votes in the district, which covers a swath of central New York that includes Utica. Tenney — who expressed doubt regarding climate change as late as 2016 and suggested the “deep state” had orchestrated Ben Carson’s $31,000 taxpayer-funded furniture set — will return to the seat she first won in 2014 and then lost to Brindisi in the 2018 midterm.
Although the state’s board of elections is among the slowest counters in the nation — two of last summer’s Democratic primaries took almost six weeks to get full results — the holdup in the 22nd was due to the exceptionally close race and a legal battle over how hundreds of contested ballots should be counted, as the New York Times notes:
[After the election,] mishaps and errors began to emerge, threatening the legitimacy of the results and forcing an increasingly exasperated judge to order county boards of elections to revise their tallies and fix certain errors.
In one case, county officials discovered a batch of dozens of uncounted ballots weeks after the election. In another instance, it was revealed that officials in Oneida County did not process the applications of more than 2,400 voters, making them ineligible to vote on Election Day. Then there was the “StickyGate” scandal, in which election officials could not determine whether a batch of disputed ballots had been counted because of Post-it notes that had mysteriously fallen off the ballots.
And though the Brindisi campaign had the potential recourse to appeal in court or in the House of Representatives, his concession on Monday tightens the Democratic majority in the House to a margin of just nine representatives. With the seat for New York’s 22nd District now filled, five openings remain in Congress — three for Democrats who have joined the Biden administration, and two for Republicans who have died from the coronavirus since the election.