Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) has held the Congressional seat since 2010.

November 3, 2020

Tom Reed Defeats Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 in N.Y.-23 Congressional Race

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Update: On Thursday, Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 did not formally concede the race to Rep. Tom Reed but reiterated that she can “see the math.” She also said that she is unlikely to run again.

“I promised that I would run twice and I promised that I wouldn’t run again,” she said.

“Because we respect the electoral process, we will honor the almost 47,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted before making any final statements,” she wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, adding that “that is in full recognition of the math.”

Rep. Tom Reed comfortably defeated second-time challenger Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 in the race for Congress in New York’s 23rd District. Reed had earned 63 percent of the vote to Mitrano’s 35.8 percent with around 79 percent of votes counted as of 2 a.m. Wednesday.

“We’re going to go back to D.C. and we’re going to bring people together and we’re going to have brighter days ahead of us, and we’re going to get COVID-19 in the rearview mirror,” Reed told supporters around 11 p.m. Tuesday at a gathering in Corning.

A member of Congress since 2010, Reed — who painted Mitrano as an “extreme liberal” as protests came to Tompkins County in the final weeks of the campaign — ran touting his bipartisan approach and role as co-chairman of the House Problem Solvers Caucus. Reed, however, has a “Trump Score” of 89 percent. 

Reed has held the Congressional seat since the 23rd District in its current form was drawn. The normally solidly Republican district comprises all or part of 11 mostly rural and conservative counties, with Tompkins County the district’s only Democratic stronghold.

In her second shot at unseating Reed, Mitrano fell short again. In 2018, she lost by around eight and a half points.

Reed ran a campaign that often touted his position as co-chair of the House Problem Solvers Caucus. He campaigned on his caucus’ role in negotiating a COVID-19 relief bill.

In the final weeks of the campaign, Reed repeatedly attacked Mitrano as anti-law enforcement, a label she disputes, as protests related to racism and police violence popped up in Ithaca.

Mitrano, a cybersecurity expert and moderate Democrat, centered her campaign on the top issues for residents of the Southern Tier: healthcare and infrastructure. Mitrano also slammed the Republican Party’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A large batch of votes came in around midnight, but the race wasn’t clearly over when Reed declared victory at 11 p.m. Mitrano blasted Reed for saying he won despite the fact that the vast majority of votes from Tompkins County, the district’s only Democratic stronghold, hadn’t been counted yet and that many mail-in ballots were outstanding.

“Now I know that [Reed] would prefer not to have Tompkins County in this district, but I’m afraid that it is a part of the 23rd and with 70 percent of it yet to report today’s results and 40,000 absentee ballots outstanding, that declaration was premature,” Mitrano told The Sun.

Because New York State counts ballots postmarked by Election Day that arrive within a week of Nov. 3, all votes won’t be counted for another several days. In June’s primary elections, results in Tompkins County took weeks to come in. In Ithaca, in the Democratic primary election for district attorney, incumbent Matthew Van Houten, won despite attorney Ed Kopko’s lead in election night returns.

Correction: Rep. Tom Reed has served in Congress since 2010, not 2011. He won a special election in 2010 and took office in November of that year.