A New York state trial court judge has ruled that Republican Claudia Tenney has won New York’s 22nd Congressional District election, an outcome that has been tied up in court since November. New York Judge Scott J. DelConte issued a final order finding that Tenney gained votes after her narrow November win, thus increasing her lead to 123 votes over Anthony Brindisi and thus is the winner of the November election.
Despite Tenney’s victory, Democrat campaign lawyer Marc Elias has become the new Lin Wood – tying up the victory in courts and denying the obvious win for Tenney.
After Tenney’s win, Elias’ law firm sought a stay of the ruling, effectively blocking Tenney from taking her seat.
At issue for the last few months has been the role of provisional ballots. Under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, if an individual presenting himself to vote thinks he is registered, he has a federal right to cast a provisional ballot. Whether or not that ballot is counted depends on if that person proves ultimately to have actually been registered.
In Tenney’s case, Democrat lawyers only wanted 69 provisional ballots counted out of hundreds that were at issue. Naturally, those 69 were registered Democrats.
Tenney’s legal team opposed the selective counting and a court in New York ordered all of the appropriate provisional ballots to be counted – an outcome that handed Tenney the win yesterday.
Not so fast.
In his best Kraken impersonation, Elias’ legal team vowed to gum up the outcome further by seeking a stay of Tenney’s win and filing what will prove to be a frivolous appeal.
Ironically, Elias just criticized the same approach in the presidential election:
“Part of the goal on Trump’s part was to delegitimize the election, because he’s a loser and he doesn’t want to be known as a loser,” Elias says. “The overwhelming majority of these cases were either frivolous or near-frivolous, in that they were procedurally infirmed or based on wild-eyed conspiracy theories. And that’s all borne out in the way in which the courts have treated them.”
Tenney has won a seat in Congress, but Elias and his team of 54 – that’s right, fifty-four – Democrat lawyers are trying to delegitimize her win with a frivolous stay and appeal. In January, interfering with the legitimate outcome of an election would get you kicked off Twitter and banned from polite company.
In February, that is no longer a concern, especially when the winner is a Republican who would shrink the Democrat majority in the House to the narrowest of margins.
In December, seeking a stay to block the legitimate outcome of an election would be an affront to Democracy. In February, when a Republican wins a House seat, seeking a stay and appeal is just a way to run up billable hours to the Brindisi campaign.
All of this illustrates a simple truth that everyone understood all along, both Republicans and Democrats. When Republicans win, the 54 lawyers at Perkins Coie like Marc Elias will leave no stone unturned to snatch a win from defeat. Just ask Norm Coleman in Minnesota.
But when Republicans exercise the same prerogative after an election, democracy is under threat. The depths of hypocrisy are bottomless.