Yesterday’s Primaries Almost Saw a David Brat Upset in N.Y.

by John Fund

Last Friday, I wrote a piece asking “Is Claudia Tenney the Next David Brat?” The plucky New York state legislator was taking on Richard Hanna, a moderate GOP incumbent in the Utica area whose American Conservative Union voting score for 2013 was only 48 out of 100.

In the end, Tenney came close to pulling off an upset that would have been worthy of David Brat, the professor who took down the House majority leader in a primary just a couple weeks ago. She won 47.2 percent of the vote, carrying three of the district’s counties and putting Hanna on notice that he is vulnerable in future primaries.

Hanna, who has taken such liberal positions as support for public broadcasting and federal funding of abortions, took the lessons of Eric Cantor’s loss to heart and sent out an SOS to his allies.  The Utica Observer-Dispatch reported on the mismatch in financial resources that resulted:

As of primary day, outside groups had spent $800,683 on ads and direct mailings on behalf of the candidates. Of that, $779,960 was spent on Hanna’s behalf and $20,723 for Tenney, Federal Election Commission reports show. Tenney’s own most recent filing [shows] that she had spent $111,946, compared to $510,908 by Hanna, the reports show.

As in Mississippi, the GOP establishment will go to extraordinary lengths to prevent tea-party “barbarians” from storming their castle.