Last Thursday there was a report that Claudia Tenney had picked up an additional 93 votes bringing her unofficial total over Democrat Anthony Brindisi to 122 votes. That count was unofficial and there were still a number of rulings that Judge DelConte needed to make any one of which could change the tally. Friday, the judge did make a bunch of rulings and most of them went against Anthony Brindisi.
DelConte, in a 23-page ruling on Friday afternoon, ruled that he would not order counted several categories of votes that Brindisi’s attorneys challenged in hopes of erasing the deficit.
Below are some of the biggest categories of votes that Brindisi wanted to count but that the judge ruled would not:
128 ballots from voters who voted in the right election district but wrong polling place, in addition to 20 ballots cast in the wrong county.
85 ballots from voters who were listed in the state voter database as “purged.”
51 ballots from voters who dropped their absentee ballots in a ballot drop box outside of their election district, ballots that were later sent to the correct polling place after a state deadline.
Brindisi did win a ruling Friday was over 92 absentee ballots, but those votes had already been counted in his favor. Had the judge ruled against him those votes would have been subtracted from his total. Since the judge ruled in his favor his vote total will stand as it is.
The bottom line here is that after months of investigations into every conceivable outstanding vote, Claudia Tenney has a wider margin than she did when we started down this road. She is going to be the winner, though the exact vote total isn’t clear.
However, there is one remaining hitch. Brindisi’s camp has already appealed the counting of the votes in Oneida County which gave Tenney those extra 93 votes. Last week an appellate judge refused to grant a stay to halt the counting of those ballots. However, even though Brindisi didn’t get the stay, his appeal is still going to take place unless he decides to drop it.
At this point, Brindisi really should drop the appeal. Even if his camp wins on an appeal over these 1,000 votes from Oneida County, he’s still behind overall. He’d have to appeal other decisions and win those appeals as well to have a chance at winning this race. Given all the time and care Judge DelConte has put into this effort, I don’t think Brindisi is going to be able to run the table reversing all of his decisions. For the good of citizens in NY-22 who still have no representation in Congress, it’s time for Brindisi to admit defeat and move on. He can always try again in two years.
But maybe I’m being overly optimistic. One of the local reporters who has been covering this for weeks says it may not be over soon:
I’ve seen a lot of people say very soon, but there’s still appeals and the potential for a recount so I still think we’re a ways away from being 100% done
— Josh Rosenblatt (@JRosenblattTV) February 1, 2021
Finally, there is one other minor wrinkle in this story, though it’s not one that will impact the outcome. A campaign volunteer for Claudia Tenney has apparently been texting Judge DelConte demanding that he stop the counting:
The clerk for state Supreme Court Justice Scott J. DelConte warned Tammie Knight of Verona in a letter Thursday to stop sending the texts or risk facing her own legal troubles…
McRae’s letter, made public and shared with lawyers for both sides in the 22nd District election, included copies of text messages that Knight sent to the judge between Dec. 28 and Thursday.
The last text message Thursday told DelConte, “STOP LOOKING FOR DEMOCRAT VOTES. SHES (sic) WON.”
Trying to dictate the outcome to the judge is not a smart move. Fortunately, the judge never saw those messages (his clerk got them) and wasn’t influenced by them one way or the other.
If there are any updates on this race today I’ll add them below.