NY-22 Minute: Tenney Emphasizes Effectiveness & Authenticity Launching 2020 Campaign By Luke Perry
This morning Claudia Tenney declared her candidacy in the 2020 race by releasing her first campaign video shared with The Post Standard. Tenney followed this with an appearance on Talk of the Town (WUTQ in Utica).
The video heavily emphasized family and local communities. Tenney nationalized her 2018 reelection effort in positioning herself as an unwavering supporter of President Trump, who stumped for her, along with other members of his family and White House staff. The president and Democrats were not mentioned in the video.
On Talk of the Town, Tenney said she decided to run “because it’s very frustrating to watch what is happening in Washington.” Tenney framed her challenge to Rep. Anthony Brindisi in terms of effectiveness, pitting her record in the 115th Congress against his in the 116th Congress.
Unlike Brindisi, Tenney served during during unified Republican control. This afforded greater opportunities to get legislation passed. Divided government enables Brindisi to buck his party on select issues, including voting against raising the minimum wage and the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, but also makes it more difficult to get his sponsored legislation into law.
Tenney also framed the race as one between her, a true Republican, and Brindisi, who is “pandering” for Republican votes. Tenney sought to align Brindisi with Alexandria Occasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi, whom she described as “scary forces.”
Brindisi has criticized Rep. Cortez for her support of the Green New Deal, her opposition to Amazon coming to New York, and for calling for primary challenges against moderate Democrats, like himself. Brindisi also fulfilled his campaign pledge to oppose Pelosi for Speaker, instead calling for new leadership.
As much as both candidates may try to stay focused on local issues, impeachment is going to garner attention in the weeks to come. The issue will likely be raised at Rep. Brindisi’s Town Hall next week in New Hartford, an uncommon occurrence during the other town halls he has held throughout the district.
Tenney acknowledged that the President makes her “cringe” at times, but believes Democrats do not have substance backing impeachment, just “second or third hand” information from a whistle-blower. The transcript of Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s president, which was made public, was just “typical Trump . . . rambling on.” Tenney stated that Brindisi cannot vote for impeachment because it would be his “death knell” in NY-22.
Brindisi campaign spokesperson Sarah Russell responded to Tenney joining the race:
“This district has long turned the page on Claudia Tenney, who delivered for late night tv more than she ever did our hometown. Anthony Brindisi is the kind of pragmatic, bipartisan problem solver the district appreciates and America could use more of. He’ll keep up his fight for middle-class families, but remains at-the-ready for a re-match against a kind of politics voters are, quite frankly, exhausted by.”
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Professor of Government at Utica College
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