While Board of Election (BOE) staffers and volunteers from the eight counties that make up the 22nd Congressional district count absentee ballots, Rep.-Elect Anthony Brindisi  is already making news in the nation's capital.

During the campaign, a key issue for Republicans who supported Brindisi was whether or not he would back Rep. Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. "I will not support Nancy Pelosi," Brindisi said over and over again during interviews and speeches, despite the fact that television and radio commercials continued to peg him as a "Pelosi puppet."  Even after election night, his opponent Rep. Claudia Tenney continued to give interviews claiming he would have no choice but to support the Minority Leader once he arrived in Washington. On Monday, Brindisi put his campaign promise on paper, signing a letter along with other Democrats, calling for new leadership.

"Voters in hard-won districts, and across the country, want to see real change in Washington," the letter addressed to 'Democratic Colleagues' stated. "We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise."

During a private forum last week on the Saturday before Election Day, Brindisi met with a group of mostly Republican constituents in New Hartford, to offer them reassurance. "I don't care if I end up with a desk out in the hallway, even if I end up out on the lawn," Brindisi said. "You have my word that I will not support her."  The signing of today's letter is his first chance to prove that he meant what he said, even though political insiders have said Pelosi will likely still end up as Speaker because Democrats so far don't have a real alternative. None the less, the anti-Pelosi movement seemed to be gaining steam late in the day on Monday, as the number of Democratic dissidents opposed to the California Representative had grown to 16, according to the Washington Post.

 

Brindisi, who has declared victory twice since Election Day, currently enjoys a 3,223 vote lead with about 5,500 absentee ballots yet to be counted in Oneida, Chenango and Tioga counties. There are also a yet to be determined number of military ballots to be counted, a number that traditionally pales in comparison to local absentees. All in all, political analysts tell WIBX that the race is nearly over as Rep. Tenney would have to win nearly 80 percent of all remaining votes in order to overtake Brindisi's lead. Results from Oneida County, which has the bulk of the absentees between the three counties (4,182), are expected to be made public this week.