GOP holds in NY-22: Brandon Williams beats Democrat Francis Conole

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Republican Brandon Williams defeated Democrat Frank Conole in a much-watched upstate race to replace retiring GOP Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse) in Central New York.

The close contest was called Monday night by NBC as Williams led Conole by just over 4,000 votes with 98% of the vote counted.

Polling had suggested a tight race between the two Navy vets with Conole leading his GOP rival 46% to 42% in a Nov. 4 survey released by Spectrum News/Siena College.

But Williams was able to overtake his Democratic opponent with the help of national Republicans who battered Conole with ads targeting core issues for voters — rising crime and controversial limits on cash bail.

Conole had tried to distance himself from his party amid polling showing the race against Williams within single digits.

Such efforts included skipping a recent visit by President Biden to the Syracuse area where he touted a deal to boost microchip manufacturing with $100 billion in future investments.

Republican Brandon Williams
Republican Brandon Williams ended up overtaking his Democratic opponent with the help of national Republicans.
AP

That approach fell short for Conole amid political headwinds working against Democrats nationally as they pushed to hold the narrow House majority they won two years ago.

Lines approved by Albany Democrats at the beginning of the year would have given Democrats a big edge in what had historically been an electoral battleground between the two parties.

But an April decision by the state’s highest court ultimately led to a new House map more favorable to the GOP.

RealClearPolitics had ranked the race as “lean Republican” before voting ended on Nov. 8.

Biden won the district ultimately drawn by a court-appointed special master with 53.8% of the vote compared to 46.2% for ex-President Donald Trump, according to CUNY Mapping Service.

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