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Primary Night sees Congressional Candidates Tenney, Balter Tally Most Votes; Only 1 Declared Victory


Candidates in New York’s primary elections are having to put any celebrations on hold, despite waking up this morning after election night.  Dana Balter and Claudia Tenney tallied the most votes from early voting and primary day ballots in their respective congressional races.

However, the pandemic caused changes – and delays – in the selection process.

The excitement of an election night was necessarily muted for Francis Conole and Dana Balter as they got primary election results in the 24th Congressinal District Democratic primary.  In early voting and ballots cast Tuesday, Balter took around 64% of the vote.   But the Board of Elections in Onondaga County reports receiving more than 22,000 mail-in ballots – the result of an expansion of absentee voting made necessary by the coronavirus.  Other counties also have mail-in votes to add.  That count starts next week and could certainly sway the results

24th District Primary Results from Onondaga, Cayuga, Oswego and Wayne Counties (top to bottom)

Balter, hoping for a rematch against John Katko, is not declaring any victory yet … and says the delayed results might be normal in the future.  She acknowledged the election day was different. 

“It was still a very exciting day because it marks the end of our voting period.  It’s the opportunity for people across our community to raise their voices, make themselves heard, and demand the government and the policy they want.  In this case, it’s about a real movement for change and that is always exciting.”

Conole in a release said that nearly 70% of votes cast still need to be counted.  Could go up or down.  He says he’ll continue to to focus on fighting for the people of Central New York. 

In Central New York’s other congressional race, the 22nd district, Claudia Tenney took around 67% of votes cast in the primary and early voting against George Phillips.  In a release, Tenney declared victory, saying the margin is too wide to be overcome with mail-in ballots.  She said President Trump needs allies in Washington as she prepares for a rematch with Anthony Brindisi, whom she calls out of touch. 

" It is important now more than ever to rebuild the great economy that we helped to grow that was knocked down as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. I will continue my Made in America initiative and will work in Congress to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable and protect and return our jobs to America and put Upstate New York first,” Tenney said in a release.

George Phillips campaign did not respond to WAER's request for comment.  

Onondaga County Democrats also voted for a city court nominee;
Independence Party members chose city- and family- court candidates;
Republicans voted for an assembly nominee; 
Conservatives chose a family court hopeful. 
All of those races saw extensive use of absentee ballots and will also have to wait days for final results. 

This story has been updated with copy corrections.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.