As the votes came in, Anthony Brindisi started to celebrate the victory of Claudia Tenney at the Delta Hotel in Utica.
Natasha Vaughn,

UTICA, N.Y. (AP) – Democrat Anthony Brindisi defeated Republican U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, following a contentious race for New York's 22nd Congressional District that was absentee ballots more than three weeks after Election Day.

Brindisi, an attorney and state assemblyman from Utica, was ahead of 2,000 votes on election night. On Wednesday, his lead had grown to just under 4,000 as additional absentee ballots were counted. While the results from 1,881 have been reported, Brindisi's lead makes it mathematically impossible for Tenney to prevail.

Brindisi, 40, campaigned on calls for civility and participation in a district that supported Donald Trump in 2016. He was in Washington on Wednesday to prepare for his new job.

"I'm going to work on issues just as hard for people who don't support me for those who do support me," said Brindisi Monday during an interview with WKTV-TV. "I have experienced elections that are over, that's when the governing begins. When people call my office we're not going to ask them … are you a Democrat or a Republican. That doesn't matter to me."

Cited health care, funding for new roads, bridges and water systems, campaign finance and help for farmers as some of his top priorities.

Tenney was an early and vocal supporter of Donald Trump and whose brash rhetoric had similarities to the president's.

Democrats were complained when the staff sent a memo attempting to link her Italian-American opponent to the mafia because of her father's legal years ago.

She called her own alma mater, Colgate University, which is in the district, a "left-wing crazy school" and a circulated petition calling for the imprisonment of Hillary Clinton. While defending gun ownership rights, Ten said said during an interview that many people behind mass murders were Democrats.

Tenney, 57, the arguments that were commented were blown out of proportion by adversarial media. But her rhetoric turned off some of the area's leading Republicans, including her predecessor, former Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, who called Tenney a "pariah" who is "full of anger and hate."

Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district, which includes former farm manufacturing and manufacturing towns such as Binghamton and Utica. Voters there favored Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 16 percentage points.

Brindisi has appealed to independents and Republican moderates in Trump's margins in 2016 meant that to win the district.

Republicans fought hard to defend Tenney. Trump, his son Eric and House Speaker Paul Ryan all visited the district to raise money or campaign.

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