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Holden and Tenney battle for New York's new 24th District

Holden/Tenney Campaigns Steve Holden (left) and Claudia Tenney (right) are vying for the congressional seat for NY-24.
Holden/Tenney Campaigns Steve Holden (left) and Claudia Tenney (right) are vying for the congressional seat for NY-24.

WRVO - New York’s 24th Congressional District looks a little different this election. The district includes 12 counties extending from Watertown through the Finger Lakes into western New York.

Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney and Democratic nominee Steve Holden are vying for New York’s 24th congressional seat.

Tenney, who currently represents New York’s 22nd Congressional District, said after redistricting she chose to run in the new 24th District.

“The districts are very similar,” Tenney said. “They're upstate, mostly rural, very much farming communities. Economic issues dealing with farmers, dealing with small businesses. They are what really drive our economy, and that's what I'm focused on.”

Holden, a retired army lieutenant colonel, said he lives about five miles from the boundary of the new 24th District, but plans to move into the district should he be elected. The Democrat said he was compelled to run for office because he feels that democracy is in danger.

“I took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States,” Holden said. “That didn't end when I retired, and to me, free and fair elections, and just the rule of law, amongst other things, just made it paramount that I continue to serve my community and my country.”

Holden said inflation is another key focus of his and points to the Micron investment in central New York as one way of stimulating the economy.

“They are looking to further expand, possibly out into the western part of the district,” Holden said. “Those are good, high-paying jobs that Democrats have delivered on. We need to keep up the momentum on issues such as that, and the Inflation Reduction Act. In our war on inflation, we shouldn't be changing in midstream on it. We need to keep up the fight.”

Holden said another priority, if he were to be elected, is codifying Roe v. Wade. If Republicans take control of the House of Representatives, some expect a potential push for a nationwide 15-week abortion ban. Tenney, however, said she doesn't feel that is likely.

“I support federalism, the fact that the states get to make this decision,” Tenney said. “Now I'm pro-life, I'd like to see New York move in a closer and in a more reasonable position. I just doubt that true Federalists and people who really believe in states' rights are going to be advocating for reinstituting what the Supreme Court undid, which is having a creation of a right that isn't in the Constitution. This is up to the states to decide.”

Tenney pointed to a rise in crime as another key issue in her campaign.

“We have a real problem with the defund the police movement which has caused this demoralization," Tenney said. "We now see crime on the rise all across New York. It's not just New York City. It's everywhere. [Albany's] response is simply to take away the rights from law abiding gun owners. We would like to see these rights restored.”

Tenney said she believes many criminal justice reform bills in New York prioritize criminals rather than victims.

“I think people want a rebalancing back to focusing on victims and focusing on keeping our community safe,” Tenney said.

Former President Donald Trump was recently subpoenaed by the January 6 committee and responded saying the 2020 election was rigged and stolen. Tenney commented on whether she agreed with that claim.

“I don't know if I put it in those terms,” Tenney said. “There were tremendous irregularities, a lot of the illegalities. That's why I founded the election integrity caucus to really get down to what really happened in this election. In some cases, I think [Trump] makes a good claim, but in other cases a lot of what was happening in that election was legal and we don't have a way to account for any of this.”