Tags: Trump Administration | Tenney | New York | 22

With Conservative Tenney Leading, NY-22 Primary Gets Rough in Final Week

With Conservative Tenney Leading, NY-22 Primary Gets Rough in Final Week
 Claudia Tenney (CQ Roll Call/AP)

By
Sunday, 19 June 2016 04:47 PM Current | Bio | Archive

With nine days to go before Republicans in New York’s upstate 22nd District select a Congressional nominee, the primary to succeed retiring Rep. Richard Hanna (R.-N.Y.) has evolved into one of the hardest-fought GOP primaries anywhere this year.

As conservative swashbuckler and State Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney hits moderate businessman Steve Wells as a "Cuomo Republican" (for a campaign donation to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo) and Wells slams Tenney as an office-holder who is an "insider," their race is drawing increasing attention outside the upstate district. It’s because national Democrats are eyeing the 22nd as a possible pickup for them in the fall.

At a press breakfast June 13 hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Political Director Kelli Ward spoke of the DCCC placing priorities on GOP-held House districts that are more suburban and "like Donald Trump the least."

"And, yes, New York-22 is like that," she told Newsmax, adding that Broome County legislator and presumptive Democratic nominee Kim Myers is "a terrific candidate."

A just-completed Liberty Research poll showed that among likely primary voters, Tenney leads Wells by a margin of 32 percent to 31 percent. Rounding out the race with 13 percent is teacher and former congressional staffer George Phillips, who twice ('08 and '10) carried the GOP standard against former Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D.-N.Y.) in a neighboring district.

Although Phillips is a conservative and has the blessings of economic conservative hero Steve Forbes, many Empire State conservatives point to his lackluster third-place showing in virtually all polls and feel that without him, Tenney would be a cinch.

Recalling how Tenney ran from the right in the '14 primary and nearly upset the moderate-to-liberal Rep. Hanna, historian David Pietrusza, who knows all things New York, told us: "Based on her strong run against Hanna two years ago and her high Albany profile, Tenney would normally be rated a prohibitive favorite. But with George Philips turning a two-person race into a three-way contest and thus giving voters a choice between two solid conservatives, 2016's results become significantly more problematical for the right."

Like the young Margaret Thatcher in her early days in the British House of Commons and conservative GOP Reps. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee) and Mimi Walters (California) when they were young state legislators, Tenney has built a reputation in Albany as an outspoken conservative on most issues. From Gov. Cuomo’s budgets to abortion, one usually finds the Croatian-speaking attorney and former publisher in the throes of the fight and punching hard.

Accordingly, many national groups boarded the "Tenney Train" early: the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, the National Rifle Association and Citizens United. In addition, Tenney has secured the coveted "Row Three" of the New York Conservative Party for the fall election. With few exceptions, no Republican has won a U.S. House seat from New York since the 1970s without also having the Conservative line.

In recent weeks, Wells (who is Upstate Regional Finance Chairman for the State GOP) has hit hard at Tenney as an "insider" and "career politician." He has also made it clear he is going for the centrist element in the party that long supported Hanna. During a recent interview, Wells voiced agreement with Hanna that "it's not a good idea to shut down the [federal] government" and, on abortion, said, "I do not support taxpayer funding of abortions [but] should we regulating people anymore?"—a hint of opposition to future pro-life legislation.

For her part, Tenney has come out swinging with a TV ad noting Wells was responsible for $11,500 in donations to liberal Democrat Cuomo’s re-election in '14 through a company of his and he was himself a "pay-to-play insider." Wells has insisted his brother was responsible for the Cuomo donation and "99 percent" of the candidates he contributes to are Republicans.

In its twilight days, the Republican race in New York-22 is likely to grow even uglier — and evincing more interest from the national press and from Democrats.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.



© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
John-Gizzi
With nine days to go before Republicans in New York's upstate 22nd District select a Congressional nominee, the primary to succeed retiring Rep. Richard Hanna (R.-N.Y.) has evolved into one of the hardest-fought GOP primaries anywhere this year. As conservative swashbuckler...
Tenney, New York, 22
671
2016-47-19
Sunday, 19 June 2016 04:47 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved