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Trump ally Claudia Tenney seeking old seat against Rep. Anthony Brindisi

Former GOP member from NY lost by less than 5,000 votes in 2018 midterms

Former Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y, announced Tuesday she will run for her old seat in New York's 22nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Former Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y, announced Tuesday she will run for her old seat in New York's 22nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Claudia Tenney, one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters last Congress, announced Tuesday she will run for her old seat in New York’s 22nd District.

Tenney lost by less than 2 percentage points in the 2018 midterms to Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi despite running one of the most pro-Trump campaigns of any vulnerable House Republican.

The president carried New York’s 22nd District by 15 percentage points in 2016.

“Upstate New York deserves a representative who will fight for their values in Congress, someone who will work to deliver actual results, not resistance,” Tenney said in a press release Tuesday.

“Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Brindisi and Democrats in Congress are not interested in governing, they simply want to resist the President’s agenda,” she said.

Trump does not often state a position on legislation, but when he has, Brindisi supported that position 4.5 percent of the time this year. The average Democrat, however voted to support the Trump position just 2.8 percent of the time, according to CQ Vote Watch.

Compared to fellow Democrats, Brindisi has broken with his party more than the average member. His CQ “party unity score” was 83.2 percent, compared to the average Democrat’s 97.5 percent.

Brindisi has held back from officially endorsing the House Democrats’ formal impeachment inquiry into Trump that Pelosi announced last week.

“I’ve heard a lot of folks who have called our office in support of impeachment,” he told reporters last week, The New York Times reported. “I’ve had a pro-Trump, anti-impeachment rally outside of my district office, so we’re hearing a good mix of opinions from people.”

The first-term Democrat is one of the most vulnerable members of his party this cycle, with Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rating the race a Toss-up.

Despite resisting a full-throated endorsement of the impeachment inquiry, Brindisi still appears to have the support of progressive activists in his district.

“While he is not nearly as liberal as most of us in Indivisible Mohawk Valley by a long shot, I knocked thousands of doors for him in 2018, and I will do that again,” Jen DeWeerth, a leader of the Indivisible chapter in Mohawk Valley told Roll Call last week.

In her campaign announcement Tuesday, Tenney touted her legal background as an attorney, economic know-how as a small business owner, and resilience as a single mother.

Known for her pugnacious rhetoric in the 2018 cycle, Tenney picked up right where she left off on Tuesday by blaming “do-nothing” Democrats in Congress for stalling any legislative progress.

“It’s time we sent a strong advocate to Congress who is focused on real results, not a politician who is ineffective and who tests the political winds before acting on behalf of our region,” Tenney said of Brindisi.

Brindisi raised nearly $1 million through the first two quarters of 2019 and finished the June filing period with $771,000 in cash on hand. The third quarter ended on Monday, but disclosure of those figures is not due until Oct. 15.

Simone Pathe and Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.

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