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March 18, 2014

Tenney seeking support for possible challenge to Hanna

By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, accused Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, Monday of voting more like congressional Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi than a Republican and painted the incumbent as vulnerable to a challenge from the right in this year’s June 24 GOP congressional primary in New York.

And, she confirmed, she is giving serious consideration to opposing Hanna. Tenney noted Hanna’s district — realigned two years ago — is more conservative than the former 24th Congressional District that Hanna captured in his first successful outing four years ago.

She now has locked in on a motive for opposing the man she once supported.

“He has been taking populist positions as opposed to taking the positions he said he would,” said Tenney, a lawyer and businesswoman.

She asserted that Hanna is out of step with the district by voting in support of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation, known as Obamacare, after saying he would oppose it. In January, Hanna drew attention when he was the only congressional Republican who voted against a measure banning federal payments for abortions. 

Hanna, contacted by The Daily Star, declined to comment on Tenney’s statements. 

Hanna skated through a GOP primary two years ago, soundly defeating Tea Party activist Michael Kicinski of Earlville. Kicinski has signaled that he plans to make another attempt to unseat Hanna this year. Insurance agent Michael Vasquez of Binghamton is also eyeing the seat.

In Albany, Tenney, 53, has openly criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo, recently denouncing his proposal to use taxpayer dollars to fund college courses for incarcerated felons. She also called for the resignation of the most powerful Democrat in the Legislature — Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan — after he was accused of trying to buy the silence of two female legislative staffers who complained they were sexually harassed by former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, D-Brooklyn.

Tenney’s serpentine-shaped 101st Assembly district runs from Oneida County to Orange County, crossing through several towns in Otsego and Delaware counties along the way.

Her effort to line up support from conservatives comes two years after another woman, current state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Saratoga County, defeated an incumbent Republican, Roy McDonald, after the latter rankled conservatives by voting for Cuomo’s proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. McDonald had formerly opposed gay marriage.

Hanna’s district encompasses all of Chenango, Madison, Cortland and Oneida counties, as well as parts of Herkimer, Tioga, Broome and Oswego counties.