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World 30th Republican Woman Could Join House as Judge Rules Claudia Tenney Winner in Disputed Race

08:47  06 february  2021
08:47  06 february  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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New York Republican Claudia Tenney was declared the winner of the election for her district's Congressional seat more than 90 days after ballots were cast. Tenney is in position to potentially become the 30th Republican woman in the House, a record number for the GOP.

a large stone statue in front of a building: A New York State Supreme Court justice ordered Republican Cynthia Tenney to be certified as the victory in a disputed Congressional election. © iStock/Getty A New York State Supreme Court justice ordered Republican Cynthia Tenney to be certified as the victory in a disputed Congressional election.

Tenney ran against Democrat Anthony Brindisi in November's election. Tenney's apparent early lead dwindled from approximately 28,000 votes right after the election to roughly 12 votes after absentee votes were counted. After the validity of some ballots was called into question and voting districts were canvassed, New York State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte said Friday that all "valid votes" had been tabulated. Despite its name, the New York Supreme Court is not the state's highest court, but a trial court. New York's highest court is the Court of Appeals.

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Tenney received 156,098 votes while Brindisi received 155,989 votes, a difference of only 109 votes. DelConte ruled that the votes be certified and transmitted to the New York State Board of Elections.

"I'm honored to have won this race," Tenney said in a Friday statement. "It was a hard-fought campaign and I thank Anthony Brindisi for his service. Now that every legal vote has been counted, it's time for the results to be certified. The voters need a voice in Congress, and I look forward to getting to work on behalf of New York's 22nd Congressional District."

Should Tenney's victory be certified, she would become the 30th Republican woman in the House. After the midterm elections in 2018, there were only 13 GOP women in the House. Currently, Democrats hold sway in the House with 221 seats to the GOP's 211 seats.

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Brindisi still has the option of challenging the Supreme Court's ruling.

"I believe a full audit and hand recount is the only way to resolve this race," Brindisi said Friday in a statement.

"It's shocking, right now, no one knows who actually won this race," Brindisi added. "My opponent and I deserve true clarity."

DelConte wrote Friday that the State Supreme Court cannot order a recount.

"Only the House of Representatives can order a new election or recount in this race," DelConte said.

Results in the election were muddled as ballots the Boards of Elections in Oneida and Madison counties did not properly follow state elections laws. In one situation, challenged absentee ballots from Oneida County were marked with sticky notes. No indication as to why the ballots were challenged was written on the ballots themselves. In some cases, the sticky notes were missing from the ballots, making it difficult to ascertain if the votes had been counted.

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DelConte noted in his decision that both Tenney and Brindisi "suffered the effects of systemic violations of state and federal election laws" but that it was not the court's responsibility to "investigate or respond" to the issues.

Should Tenney's alleged victory be certified, she would become the 30th Republican woman in the House. After the midterm elections in 2018, there were only 13 GOP women in the House. Currently, Democrats hold sway in the House with 221 seats to the GOP's 211 seats.

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Newsweek reached out to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office for comment.

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