Dueling Congressional fundraisers

By Joleen Ferris


The invitations have all gone out, and Friday is the deadline by which the United States Secret Service must have the names of those who are attending a fundraiser for incumbent 22nd District Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, hosted by President Trump in Utica on Monday, August 13.

The location of the event has not yet been disclosed. Donors will pay between $1,000 and $15,000 to attend, and Tenney says the event will sell out.

Congresswoman Tenney's opponent, Democrat Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, is holding a fundraiser of his own Monday night, at the Chesterfield in east Utica. The price tag is 1 percent of the price of seeing the president.

"We took a stance early on in the campaign we're not taking any corporate PAC money in our election, so we really wanted to have another event for people who can't afford to spend $15,000 to come to our event," Brindisi said. "$10, food, friends and really enjoy themselves and be able to talk to a candidate who's running for Congress."

When asked if his campaign was mining for a big name to host a local fundraiser for him – perhaps Barack Obama, Joe Biden or Bill Clinton – Brindisi said he's currently relying on the strength of his campaign, and that at the end of the day, it's going to be his and Tenney's names on the ballot.

The presidential fundraiser will likely put hundreds of thousands of dollars in Tenney's campaign warchest. In terms of visibility, it's not everyday the President of the United States comes to your town to host a fundraiser in your honor. But does President Trump's trip bode well for Tenney's challenger?

"They know that we're running a strong campagin. That's why they've gotta bring in the president," Brindisi said. "But what they don't know is that when I'm elected, I'm gonna work with the president when it's gonna help benefit this area, and if he's doing something that's going to harm the people in this region, I'm going to stand up."

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