Tenney, Brindisi Race Could Have an ‘Unlikely’ Outcome
by Bill Keeler / WIBX Editorial
The most recent polling in the race for NY-22 draws the conclusion that the election between Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney and Democrat Anthony Brindisi is going to be extremely close. So close, that the race is polled virtually dead even with a plus or minus of 5 points, and 9 percent of the people polled, mostly Republican, who are still undecided. The 5 percent plus or minus margin of error does leave a lot of wiggle room; but, let's assume it's accurate.
Normally, the key to the race would be the undecided voters, who would generally lean towards the challenger instead of the incumbent at this late hour; but, this clearly isn't a normal election. This group of undecideds seems uncomfortable with Claudia Tenney. Yet, they also appear to be struggling with voting for Brindisi because he's been positioned as a Pelosi Democrat bent on impeaching the President, even though he's denounced impeachment and says he won't support Pelosi. There's arguably a good chance when these undecided voters go to 'fill in the bubble' they'll fall victim to fear and settle back into the confines of their party affiliation, giving Tenney a slight advantage in the race.
So, If Tenney Has an Advantage, How is There An Unlikely Outcome?
The 'unlikely' outcome lies with those 'unlikely' voters who are undocumented. I'm not talking about illegal aliens who are undocumented and trying to vote, these are 'unlikely' voters who aren't a part of the current polling call lists. Basically, these are people who don't normally vote so no one pays attention to them. Most polls target likely voters, which often means those who have consistently voted in at least the last two general campaigns. This polling strategy tends to be reliable because these are the people who consistently vote; but, when a political climate is heated like today, the voting pool gets larger and this abnormal group added to the electorate completely throws off typical trends, especially if large in numbers. We saw large numbers of 'unlikely voters' in 2008 when an 'unlikely crowd' came out for President Obama, and then in 2016 for President Trump. These new and unlikely voters completely fall under the radar and are often driven by a wave of anger and/or passion. The difference between now and 2016 is that this group of unlikely voters (if it actually does exist) seems to be leaning moderate or left. Today, as the President hammers home core issues like fear over immigration, Kavenaugh/Blassey-Ford, and rhetoric that includes personal attacks, it certainly energizes the President's base; but, it also stirs up the opposition. If moderate and Democrat leaning voters who normally don't vote, become energized and come out in respectable numbers, that could very well mean trouble for Tenney.
To further drive this point home, over the last several months the Brindisi camp has conducted a very extensive canvassing campaign in which thousands of doors have been knocked on in order to get their vote out, including inspiring those who haven't voted in the past. The Brindisi camp believes that this is the area in which they are way ahead. "We've knocked on over 200,000 doors during this campaign," said Jordan Karp of the Brindisi campaign. "We feel our strength is in our ground game. If the voters who aren't likely voters, or those who haven't voted previously come out strong, that completely changes the math," he said.
Now, back to the very close polling numbers and the fact that these new voters aren't accounted for; that is, unless you're operating Brindisi's Get Out The Vote campaign. Brindisi's camp knows full well who these people are and if they actually do exist, odds are they've done everything possible to get them to the polls.
In contrast, Claudia Tenney is completely tied to President Trump. Heavy hitters including the President himself, Sarah Sanders, Oliver North and Donald Trump Jr. campaigning in the fin al hours at
We're just hours away from finally seeing this blockbuster's epic conclusion
the Beeches in Rome. We've seen an unprecedented amount of attention paid to this district, like never before in modern elections, all with the intent to get out enough voters to keep the seat Republican. Even in the final hours before the polls open on Tuesday, robo calls and Tweets were coming from the President, urging voters to keep Tenney in Congress. This is as intense a campaign as we have ever seen which leads us to the multi-billion dollar ad revenue question: which strategy will ultimately serve as the winner? Which side gets enough of their voters out to force a concession speech from the opposition?
Need a Ride? Because We Have to Get Our Vote Out
While it certainly could be the undecideds that finally make up their minds and move the needle forward for Tenney, one has to consider the massive effort Brindisi's camp has put forward towards energizing a base that feels estranged from the Make America Great Again campaign. Could this effort to mobilize women and younger voters who are uncomfortable with tough talk and name calling be enough to carry the day? That day of reckoning, November 6th, is finally here.
If these 'unlikely voters' show up, and I'll be honest, that's a big 'if' - Anthony Brindisi wins and it won't be as close as we all expected. If they don't, it seems Claudia Tenney has the advantage.
We're just hours away from finally seeing this blockbuster's epic conclusion; I'm just hoping it actually ends with an actual conclusion and not with, To be Continued.
About the District, NY-22
Since 2012, the 22nd Congressional District runs from Lake Ontario into the Mohawk Valley and down to Binghamton and the Pennsylvania border with a population of 720,201 according to Census data. There are 395,000 registered voters in the district with a 6% advantage to Republicans and in the last mid-term election, only 175,372 people cast a vote. During the Presidential Election in 2016, according to the NYS Board of Elections, 278,348 voted in the Congressional race during the Trump-Clinton election. Forecasters are predicting a high turnout on Tuesday; but, it probably won't reach the level of the 2016 election, especially because 1) Trump is not on the ballot and 2) both candidates are from the Utica area which makes for a less enthusiastic electorate to the western and southern parts of the district.