Known as one of the more liberal Republican in Congress, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) is facing New York Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, the Tea Party challenger, in the NY-22 GOP primary on Tuesday.
Among many issues, Tenney goes after Hanna for supporting Common Core, voting twice to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts, voting for taxpayer-funded late-term abortions, voting against restricting the spying powers of the National Security Administration (NSA), and dragging his feet in supporting investigations into the attack on the compound in Benghazi, Libya.
The Republican Congressman only became a co-sponsor of the Benghazi legislation within days after the release of White House emails obtained by Judicial Watch. Prior to that, he believed the investigation was a waste of time because the GOP could not find “a smoking gun.”
Hanna claims his support of federal funding for Planned Parenthood is not the same as federal funding of abortions, the Ithaca Journal reported. However, he voted with abortion-rights members to oppose legislation to ban gender-selection abortions and abortions after 20 weeks.
In some cases, like taxpayer funding of late-term abortions or the Benghazi investigation, Hanna is the only GOPer or NY GOPer standing with Democrats. In another case, he was one of just two Republicans who voted against delaying Obamacare for one year.
Hanna’s support for the Equal Rights Amendment and his proclamation that women should “donate to Democrats” to support “people who speak out on your behalf” have both raised eyebrows among conservatives.
Hanna defended his views in an interview last month: “But that isn’t the point,” adding, “I am who I am. I represent broadly and smartly. I’m a conservative guy. I’m a businessman. I’m a gun owner. I’ve got a family in upstate New York.”
A poll in March performed by McLaughlin and Associates, the same Republican polling company that wrongly predicted Rep. Eric Cantor would crush Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) by 44 points in the Virginia GOP primary recently, showed Hanna with a little over 73 percent of likely Republican votes in the district. Interestingly enough, however, Cantor’s loss may have spooked Hanna and his supporters. Last week two super PACs spent over $700,000 on ads to defeat Tenney, accusing the Marine mother of not being conservative enough.
The Tenney campaign calls the ads “false flags,” saying, “They purport to be supporting conservative causes and the most conservative candidate in a conservative district, when in fact they are supporting the more liberal candidate.”
According to the numbers from conservative organizations that score their votes, Tenney has a 96% score with the NY state Conservative Party, while Hanna received a 52% lifetime rating from The American Conservative Union following the 2012 session.