UTICA — With election petitions in for the race for the 22nd District Congressional seat, one thing is clear.
The seat will go to a Republican.
Thursday’s petition deadline came and went without a Democrat, or a member of any other party, entering the race.
“This is the main event,” area pollster John Zogby said of the June 24 Republican primary.
The candidates are:
• Incumbent U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna of Barneveld.
• Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney of New Hartford.
• Michael Kicinski of Earlville.
Of the three, only Hanna was able to get enough signatures for a second party line. With the Independence line in the bag, even if Hanna loses the primary, he will be able to run in the November election.
Tenney, though endorsed by the Conservative Party, was unable to get enough signatures to get that line for November.
Kicinski did not have the endorsements of any party.
Tenney and Kicinski still could create their own independent lines if they wish. And, if she loses the primary, Tenney still can seek her Assembly seat.
Oneida County Democratic Party Chairman Mitch Ford said the lack of a candidate does not mean his party supports Hanna.
“We were aggressively looking for a candidate, but we were unsuccessful in finding one,” he said.
Republican Chairman Peter Sobel said his organization endorsed Hanna and continues to support him.
“It’s her right and her decision,” he said of Tenney’s choice to run. “But our committee endorsed Richard Hanna. We stand behind Richard and we are hopeful he wins the primary.”
Tenney, who got about 2,500 signatures in the eight-county district, said she is “truly humbled by the tremendous show of support.”
A total of 1,250 Republican signatures was required to get on the ballot. Hanna got more than 5,000, a statement from his campaign said.
“It is a privilege to run again for the 22nd Congressional District seat,” Hanna said in the release. “I am deeply grateful for the grassroots support of Republican committee members throughout the district.”
Kicinski issued a statement pointing out that he is the only candidate who is not a politician.
“While politicians compromise on the debt, the budget and Constitutional rights, I will remain firm and uncompromising,” he said.
Zogby jokingly called the upcoming vote, “The Sherry Boehlert Memorial Primary.”
Sherwood Boehlert, a moderate Republican who represented the area in Congress for 24 years, faced numerous challenges from the right but was never toppled.
Hanna also is widely viewed as a moderate, and Tenney and Kicinski say the district needs more conservative representation.
Zogby pointed out that though Tenney’s status as a sitting assemblywoman means she poses a viable challenge, Kicinski’s presence in the race could rob her of needed votes.
Page 2 of 2 - “The conservatives have had a difficult time defeating the moderate establishment candidate,” Zogby said. “And I think they will again.”