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U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney wins Republican primary for 24th Congressional District seat

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Rep. Claudia Tenney defeated Mario Fratto for the Republican line for the 24th Congressional District. Much of the rhetoric in the contest addressed the question of which candidate was more conservative. 

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U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney has won the Republican primary in the redrawn and deeply conservative 24th Congressional District.

Her challenger, political newcomer Mario Fratto, conceded the race at about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday. And the Associated Press called the race for Tenney at 11:41 p.m.

With 479 of 531 election districts reporting as of 11:25 p.m., Tenney had recorded 17,277 votes, or 53.4% of the total. Fratto had received 12,988 votes, or 40.2%.

The race between Tenney and Fratto was a battle of two candidates who both supported Republican positions, and who accused each other of not having a truly conservative track record. 

That positioning made sense in the deeply conservative and redrawn 24th Congressional District, a massive and largely rural district that encompasses parts of Niagara and Orleans counties, all of Genesee and Wyoming counties and several other rural counties stretching eastward along Lake Ontario to Jefferson and Oswego counties. Driving across the huge district takes about four hours.

In her campaign, Tenney ran on her longer political record. She served in the State Assembly in 2011 until she ascended as the 22nd District representative to the House of Representatives in 2016. She lost her seat in 2018 and was re-elected in 2020 by 109 votes after a lengthy ballot recanvassing.

Fratto took a more grassroots approach as the newcomer challenging an establishment candidate. He gave up his law practice in 2019 to join his brothers in running a granite curbing family business in Geneva – he campaigned by promoting that his family has lived in the district for five generations. 

Republican George Phillips also was on the Republican primary ballot but did not actively campaign.

Results from the state Board of Elections show Fratto won Ontario, Seneca and Wayne counties.

Fratto told The Buffalo News on Tuesday night that he was encouraged by his campaign's performance but wanted to spend time with his family before deciding on whether he would run again for political office.

Tenney also leaned on her endorsement from former President Donald Trump and built up a more than $2 million campaign fund. Fratto, by comparison, raised $355,000.

"We didn't have the resources that she did," Fratto said.

With Tenney's win, she will face Democratic candidate Steven Holden, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who lives in Central New York, in the November election. Holden has raised about $141,000.

Buffalo News staff reporter Sandra Tan contributed to this story.

Jon Harris can be reached at 716-849-3482 or jharris@buffnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ByJonHarris.

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I'm a Genesee County native and Syracuse University grad who covered business at the (Binghamton) Press & Sun-Bulletin and at The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I joined The Buffalo News in September 2021, covering the business of health care.

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