SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The 22nd Congressional District of New York is one of the most important races in this year’s midterm election. While the result may give some insight as to what the U.S. House looks like for the next term, there are people that do not know who either candidate is.
Francis Conole won the Democratic primary in late August. After losing just two years prior, the U.S. Naval Academy graduate and Iraq War veteran controlled the winning vote by just four points. Conole is also backed by Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and New York state Assembly Member Al Stripe.
In an upset poll, Brandon Williams secured the Republican nomination in a close battle with Steven Wells of the Independence Party. Like his counterpart, Williams is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, Williams was born and raised in Dallas, Texas but landed in Central New York in 2010. He deems himself not as a politician, but as a patriot.
On his campaign site, Williams stands firm on striking down abortions. He will also ensure the decision of “young mothers” is protected in instances of “rape, incest and life.” As a gun owner himself, Williams vows to uphold the second Amendment and protect an American’s right to possess a firearm. Curbing the “reckless government spending” of the Biden Administration is another big task he wants to accomplish. Williams has a plan to lower taxes and make America energy independent again.
While the state and the nation leaned blue in the previous election, a Spectrum News and Siena poll displayed a small lead for Republicans in the beginning of October. But since then, a Friday morning poll showed the tables have flipped.
Data gathered by political campaign experts said that the estimated spending on advertisements could reach the $9 billion mark by the time midterms come around. While this estimate was made in early October, the two candidates fighting for NY-22 and their PACs have spent over $12 million in an attempt to win the vote. Most of the advertisements paid for are attack ads.
Liam O’Connor, the Vice Chair of Onondaga County’s Young Republicans, believes attack advertisements are the most effective way for voters to be receptive.
“In the current political climate, people are very cynical about American politics,” O’Connor said. “So, they’re going to tend to be more receptive and believe a negative message, almost more than a positive message.”
These attack ads are meant to be policy attacks. A major issue that comes across is that people view them as personal attacks. While that is rarely the case, Williams discusses the effects of personal attack ads on his family during an interview with a Utica radio station.
“There is virtually nothing that they say that is true and that is what I find so shocking. They say my family has invested in a company that outsourced jobs to China,” Williams said. “But that is how dishonest these ads are. My son owning a little bit of Apple stock and the corporate decisions they made, makes me somebody that has outsourced jobs to China.”
It is believed by consultants on both sides that these ads work, yet Andrea Wandersee, a community engagement specialist, believes door-to-door tactics are the most effective.
“The most important message people need to hear is that their vote matters and their vote counts,” Wandersee said. “And for me, the most important thing, especially the younger generation, is get yourselves out there and vote. At a local level, people vote for who they know. Studies have shown that name recognition matters.”
In NY-22, 80% of the population are eligible voters. But about 15% of them are under the age of thirty. College-aged and people under 30 years old are very influential in these elections. Unfortunately for Williams, those voters may inclined to lean blue.
There are certain trends in young voters that support the democratic lean according to LeMoyne College politics professor, Anirban Acharya.
“I think the largest number of young voters, if I’m not wrong, came out to vote for Obama,” Acharya said. “He had a very young electorate that he tapped into.”
Students also know the implications of voting in this election. Declan Braun, a LeMoyne College student, is keen on voting this year and believes young voters are being swayed toward the blue.
“I would say, if I had to guess, I would probably say it’s more than 50% Democrat, and then maybe that remaining 50% is like half Republican, half independent,” Braun said.
Williams owned September and Conole took over in October in public polling. With a few days left before Election Day, the Republican nominee will be faced with the task of overcoming a four-point projected deficit to win the seat in Congress.
The pollsters waited to get their statistics until after the manufacturing plan was announced. In an Auburn Pub article, Williams said he would have opposed the Biden Administration’s CHIPS Act that plans to bring more manufacturing to the Syracuse area.
Williams called it a “modest $50 billion corporate welfare package” for the profitable chip industry. He also stated that it would prolong the historic inflation that is affecting families in local areas like Central New York.
But in Wednesday night’s debate on CNY Central, the Republican voiced his support for the big-time tech company.
“My background is really perfectly aligned with the direction that Micron and its customer and its future wants to go, and particularly to invest here,” Williams stated.
If Williams wins the election, he will be tasked with competing interests of whether to back Biden administration initiatives that could significantly benefit the job market in the 22nd District.