Claudia Tenney loses 22nd District primary, refuses to endorse Richard Hanna

Matt Richmond
June 25, 2014

Claudia Tenney lost in the 22nd Congressional District’s Republican primary to incumbent Richard Hanna after challenging him from the right.

Tenney ran as an anti-tax conservative. She cultivated a base among New York’s anti-gun control movement, a group mobilized by last year’s strict new gun control law, the SAFE Act. Tenney also rallied support late in her campaign from national conservative figures, including Fox News host Sean Hannity, radio host Laura Ingraham and the conservative website Breitbart.

After losing by six points to Hanna, Tenney says courting support from media figures was part of her strategy from the beginning.

“We were really hoping to get more of the push from the national media on the race and they didn’t come in until last week.”

Hanna had a fundraising advantage of 8-to-1. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a single super pac, the Republican, gay rights group American Unity, spent $600,000 on ads opposing Tenney.

After conceding defeat late Tuesday, Tenney refused to endorse Hanna, saying he flooded the airwaves with dishonest ads.

“I mean the TV ads, there had to be 100 ads a day. My mother finally watched the golf channel. I was surprised after all that he was still able to win, I thought people were really turned off by it.”

Tenney says she received pro-Hanna flyers in the mail almost every day. And, on the Saturday before the election, she received the first one in her favor, from a national group she had never heard of.