Republican Brandon Williams sits across from Democrat Francis Conole at the Our Lady of Pompei annual Election Day spaghetti luncheon at 923 N. McBride St. in Syracuse, Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Mike Greenlar | Central Current.

Republican Brandon Williams declared victory over Democrat Francis Conole in the race to represent New York’s 22nd Congressional.

Williams is ahead by more than 3,000 votes as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He won 131,613 votes compared with Conole’s’ 128,393, according to the New York State Board of Elections.

If Williams’ lead holds, he will replace Claudia Tenney as the representative for New York’s 22nd District.

Before redistricting, NY-22 was located mostly in the Mohawk Valley. The redrawn NY-22 includes Syracuse and Utica, which slightly increased the number of registered Democrats in the district. Tenney ran in NY-24 instead where she won on Tuesday. 

Rep. John Katko, who represented the Syracuse area in the previously drawn 24th Congressional District for eight years, announced his plans to retire at the end of his term. Katko voted to impeach President Donald Trump, drawing criticism from the Republican party’s conservative flank. 

Tenney’s move and Katko’s retirement left NY-22 without an incumbent. 

Both candidates tried to move toward the center as the campaign closed. Williams condemned political violence and those who incite it, though he refused to specifically name or criticize Donald Trump in a debate.

Conole took a similar tack, heaping praise on Katko. He rated the job Katko did a 9 out of 10 in a debate in the campaign’s final weeks. 

The Syracuse area has only been represented by a Democrat in Congress for four of the last 40 years. Dan Maffei served two nonconsecutive terms before being defeated by Katko.   

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Chris Libonati

Chris Libonati covers government, accountability and equity. Have a tip? Contact Chris at 585-290-0718 or libonati@centralcurrent.org.