Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) defeated two-time Democratic challenger Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 by 16 points in the race for Congress in New York’s 23rd District, final numbers from the New York Board of Elections released on Thursday show. This vote margin is double that of 2018.
Reed won 57.7 percent of the vote to Mitrano’s 41.1 percent. The 16-point blowout comes two years after Reed beat Mitrano by eight and a half points in the 2018 midterms. Mitrano had run a second time for the seat, with the hope that additional time would increase name and platform recognition and help her chances in the reliably red district.
Reed declared victory early on Election Night, drawing ire from the Mitrano campaign, which called the declaration premature; most votes from Tompkins County had not yet been counted. A couple hours later, though, the Associated Press called the race for Reed.
With the double-digit win, Reed will join a Congress with a slim Democratic majority. The co-chairman of the Problem Solvers Caucus has served in Congress since 2010 after working for two years as the mayor of Corning.
Reed’s strong showing mirrors a relatively successful cycle for Republican Congressional candidates nationwide. Biden’s coattail effect largely failed to come to fruition, leaving Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) with a smaller majority and putting control of the Senate into the hands of Georgia voters, who will head to the polls in a pair of runoff elections on Jan. 5.
In 2016, with presidential candidates on the ballot, Reed won 57.6 percent of the vote to his challenger’s 42.4 percent.
However, Reed’s win this year bucks the broader trend of relatively strong Democratic showing in upstate New York. President-elect Joe Biden outpaced 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in a number of upstate counties. In Tompkins County, Biden won about 73.5 percent of the vote. Clinton won 67.7 percent there four years ago.
Reed, one of now lame-duck President Donald Trump’s early supporters in Congress when the president was running for the GOP nomination in 2016, also chaired the president’s New York campaign committee. Reed congratulated President-elect Biden on Nov. 7, making him one of the first elected Republicans to acknowledge the elections results.
The official tally in the 23rd District confirms a result that has been known for weeks. Meanwhile, chaos in the neighboring 22nd District means that it could still be weeks until voters know whether Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) or challenger Claudia Tenney will head to Washington. Just 12 votes separated the candidates after an initial count before 55 additional ballots were found. Lost sticky notes, court hearings and a possible recount have thrown the swing district into the spotlight.
Reed will be sworn in for another term Jan. 3. Mitrano said last month that she doesn’t plan to run again.
“I promised that I would run twice and I promised that I wouldn’t run again,” she said.