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March 27--Calling herself a "a real Republican," Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, announced Wednesday she will challenge incumbent Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, in the June 24 Republican primary for his 22nd Congressional District seat.
At leaast for now, however, Tenney, 53, appears to be leaving the door open to making a run for her Assembly seat in the event she is unsuccessful in her quest to send Hanna packing in the primary.
"I haven't even thought about it," Tenney said when asked if she would rule out running for the Assembly seat she now holds. Her district, stretching from Oneida County to Orange County, includes several towns in Otsego and Delaware counties.
The district is seen by political insiders as having more conservative voters than the district Hanna won four years ago before new congressional maps were drawn for New York in 2012. It encompasses all of Chenango, Madison, Cortland and Oneida counties, as well as parts of Herkimer, Tioga, Broome and Oswego counties.
A lawyer and a businesswoman and has been vociferous in her criticism of gun control legislation promoted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Tenney accused Hanna of betraying core Republican principles of "less spending and lower taxes."
"He hasn't demonstrated the leadership we need in Washington," said Tenney, one of the most conservative lawmakers in Albany.
Hanna, in a statement, emphasized his advocacy for a major local employer, Remington Arms in Ilion, and noted he has voted for a Balanced Budget Amendment and has supported the repeal of Obamacare.
"I am grateful for the support of Republicans in our district, and I intend to work diligently to maintain their confidence," Hanna said.
In 2012, Hanna easily withstood a challenge from Tea Party activist Michael Kicinski of Earlville. Both Kicinski and insurance agent Michael Vasquez of Binghamton have signaled that they are also interested in entering the primary.
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