HORSEHEADS | Tracy Mitrano, Democratic challenger for the 23rd District, conceded the race to incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, late Tuesday.
She came into a room filled with supporters at the Hilton Garden Inn in Horseheads afterward to give them the news.
“I congratulated the Congressman on his victory, and expressed my hope that he would take into account the degree to which my messages -- on healthcare, education, infrastructure and the environment, in particular -- resonated in this district,” Mitrano said.
Mitrano lost her bid for the seat 55 percent to 45 percent -- but the mood in the room was mixed, as supporters following multiple news reports also heard that Democrats would gain control of the House of Representatives.
“We would have loved to have been victorious,” Mitrano told The Leader. “We’re very happy that Democrats have taken the House.
“We knew it was going to be a challenging race, we had a lot of evidence to suggest we were closing the gap. I think that what we accomplished is still extraordinary.”
She echoed some of the issues raised in the campaign in her message to Reed.
“Mr. Reed has an opportunity to stop labeling parts of his district and think seriously about the concerns that people have, and to not only hear but listen,” Mitrano said. “Maybe he can start a healing process for all of us, because he is in a leadership position, and we hope very much that he starts to be the leader we want him to be. In the meantime, we will continue our efforts.”
Mitrano said she believes a blitz of negative advertising from her opponent’s campaign in the closing days of the race probably did have some impact on the outcome.
“The one thing that I can say about our campaign -- we ran an honest race, our concerns about Mr. Reed are fact-based,” she said.
She said she believes her campaign, despite her loss, has been a step forward for Democrats and voters in the district in general.
She said “there’s no question” that she’s engaged “many, many people” in the district who weren’t active in the political process before.
“A woman, 89 years old, in Geneva, came out last night and said ‘I have never done anything like this before in my life,’” Mitrano said. “And I said, ‘Well, guess what, neither have I.’”
As far as any future political prospects, she declined to comment for now.
“My father, whenever I would ask him something complicated, would say: ‘We will see what we will see,’” Mitrano said.