(The Center Square) – Republican Brandon Williams will represent Central New York in Congress, according to the Associated Press.

At 11 p.m. Monday, the AP declared Williams the winner of New York’s 22nd Congressional District election. As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, the New York State Board of Elections showed Williams holding a less than 4,000-vote lead, 49.7% to 48.3%, over Democratic candidate Francis Conole. That’s out of nearly 267,000 votes counted, with all 678 election districts reporting.

Not all votes have been counted, though. While absentee ballots must be postmarked on or by Nov. 8, they will still be counted as long as county elections officials receive the ballot by Tuesday. Military ballots must be received no later than next Monday.

Both candidates were relatively unknown, even in their district. A Spectrum News/Siena College poll taken the week before the election found 30% neither had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Conole, and 36% felt the same about Williams. 

The final poll showed Conole ahead 46% to 42%, but was within the five percentage point margin of error. An early October Spectrum/Siena poll showed Williams ahead 45-40.

The district was also significantly redrawn after the 2020 Census by a court-appointed special master, who made it more compact and moved it west to include the Syracuse area.

Williams, an entrepreneur, ran as a conservative in the campaign. He called for increased funding for police departments, and an end to teaching gender identity and sexual orientation to younger elementary school students. He also vowed to return more power to the states, instead of Washington, D.C.

In a statement Tuesday morning to Syracuse.com, Williams spoke about unity.“As the dust from Election Day settles, we are not merely Republicans and Democrats – we are united as Central New Yorkers,” he said. “I look forward to representing each of our district’s constituents regardless of your party. Together we can restore the economy, attract jobs, and empower communities to reduce crime.”

Both candidates are Navy veterans, and Williams thanked Conole for running, and his service.

A message to the Conole campaign was not immediately returned.

With Williams’ victory, Republicans now control 11 congressional seats in New York. That’s up from the eight the party holds in the current Congress. 

The GOP’s gains in New York are helping the party inch closer to taking control of the U.S. House. The New York Times on Tuesday morning showed the Republicans winning 217 seats so far, needing just one of the last 14 uncalled races to go their way to become the majority party come January.

Originally published on thecentersquare.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.

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