GOP’s Claudia Tenney Leads Democrat and Independent Candidates in Upstate NY Congressional Race

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, speaks during a news conference at the Capitol on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford), the GOP standard bearer, leads Democratic candidate Kim Myers and wealthy independent candidate Martin Babinec in a three-way race to replace incumbent GOP Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) in upstate New York’s 22nd Congressional District.

According to a poll released on Friday by the Babinec campaign, Tenney leads the race by 16 points.

The poll shows Tenney with 36 percent, Babinec in second with 20 percent, and Myers in third with 18 percent. The poll of 502 likely voters was conducted by Broadnet and has a 4.5 percent margin of error.

Tenney’s campaign released this statement on Friday:

Today millionaire liberal Martin Babinec put out a poll showing Republican Claudia Tenney leading the race by 16 points!

After spending over a million and enjoying months with the airwaves all to himself, Babinec has managed just 20 percent!

Babinec’s poll also notes that Hillary Clinton is highly unpopular in the district, losing to Donald Trump 47-29. It’s hard to see how the 9.5 percent of Republicans Babinec claims are supporting him will stick with him once they find out he has given tens of thousands to Democrats, including nearly $10,000 to Hillary Clinton. While he was at it, Babinec also contributed to Andrew Cuomo.

The incumbent, Hanna, is the only Republican member of Congress who has publicly stated he will vote for the Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton.

In contrast, Tenney is a strong Donald Trump supporter, and has been endorsed by Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Hanna has refused to endorse her.

An earlier poll, conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and released on September 1, showed Tenney and Myers tied at 35 percent, with Babinec in third with 22 percent.

A day later, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee (RCCC) released a poll showing Tenney with a 6 point lead over Myers, 33 percent to 27 percent, with Babinec in third with 23 percent.

Democrats are pulling out all stops to keep the popular Tenney from winning the highly competitive district, and multi-millionaire Babinec is pouring out funds from his own hefty bankroll as well.

The Syracuse Herald-American recently reported that a “Democratic super PAC launches $1.1 million ad campaign against Claudia Tenney.”

A Democratic super PAC on Tuesday began airing its first TV ads in a $1.1 million ad campaign against Republican Claudia Tenney in the 22nd Congressional District.

The first ad from House Majority PAC claims Tenney treated her post in the state Assembly as a no-show job, noting she missed 480 votes in 2014 – the third-highest total in that session.

The ads will run in the Syracuse, Utica and Binghamton media markets, said Jeb Fain, a spokesman for House Majority PAC, a group that helps elect Democrats to the House.

“For a preview of how Claudia Tenney would act in Washington, voters only need to examine her failed record in Albany,” House Majority PAC spokesman Jeb Fain said in a statement.

Fain said the initial ad will run for more than a week throughout the eight-county 22nd Congressional District, where Tenney is opposed by Democrat Kim Myers, of Vestal, a Broome County legislator.

Tenney, Myers and third-party candidate, Martin Babinec, of Little Falls, are running for the seat that will open at the end of the year with the retirement of U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld.

The House Majority PAC plans to supplement its TV ad campaign with $80,000 worth of digital advertising over the next two months, Fain said.

Hannah Andrews, speaking for Tenney, said the Democratic group’s ad “is just the first of millions in false attacks.” She said Tenney has a 96 percent attendance record in the state Assembly. Andrews did not explain the reason for Tenney’s missed votes in 2014.
The 22nd District seat is one of the most competitive House seats in the nation this year, according to political analysts.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, eager to keep the seat in Republican hands, has reserved $805,291 in TV air time for ads supporting Tenney.

Ten days ago, Roll Call reported on the DCCC poll that showed Tenney and Myers tied:

New York Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney is locked in a tight contest in the state’s 22nd District with Democrat Kim Myers.

Republican Claudia Tenney and Democrat Kim Myers were tied in a Democratic poll of New York’s open 22nd District contest, obtained first by Roll Call.

Myers and Tenney each received 35 percent of the vote in the Anzalone Liszt Grove Research poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Upstate Jobs Party candidate Martin Babinec received 21 percent.

The poll surveyed 400 voters via cellphone and landlines from Aug. 14 to 16. The margin of error was 4.9 percentage points.
Babinec is the wild card in this race. Republicans in upstate New York have previously suffered from third-party candidates eating into their percentage of the vote. Babinec has said he’ll caucus with Republicans if elected.

But when undecided voters and those supporting Babinec were asked to choose between the two major-party candidates, Tenney and Myers were still tied, at 41 percent each.

[General Election Contests Set in Competitive New York Races]

Tenney, a state assemblywoman, has a 35 percent favorable rating and a 34 percent unfavorable rating. The polling memo did not disclose Myers’ favorability numbers.

The 22nd District is one of two tossup races in the Empire State, and it’s a top target for Democrats, whose path to winning a House majority may run through New York. Mitt Romney barely carried this district in 2012.

Establishment Republicans didn’t get the candidate they wanted here in the June primary. Tenney received tea party support when she challenged moderate Republican Rep. Richard Hanna in 2014. Hanna is retiring this year, and has said he will never back Tenney. (He’s also the only GOP congressman to endorse Hillary Clinton for president).

But the National Republican Congressional Committee added Tenney to its Young Guns program this week. Tenney also earned the backing of 19th District GOP Rep. Chris Gibson, another moderate Republican who is retiring at the end of this Congress.

Myers, the daughter of the founder of Dick’s Sporting Goods, has loaned her campaign $240,000. She ended the 2nd quarter with $532,000. Tenney has loaned her campaign $60,000 over the course of the race, but ended the 2nd quarter with only $5,000.

The 22nd Congressional District covers all or part of Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Oneida, Broome, Herkimer, Oswego, and Tioga counties, and extends from the Utica to Cortland to Binghamton. The area has seen decades of economic decline.


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