ITHACA, N.Y. — Democratic primary candidate Max Della Pia, conceded to candidate Tracy Mitrano Tuesday evening after the results of absentee votes began to be reported across the district.
“Although the final results of the primary election will not be certified until Thursday, I believe it is important to begin the work of uniting as a party to defeat Tom Reed. I want to thank everyone who supported me through this year-long, primary process,” Della Pia said in a news release.
The news of his concession comes after a nail-biting election night where Della Pia pulled ahead of Mitrano by a mere 26 votes. Absentee ballots throughout the district began to be counted Monday and wrapped up Tuesday afternoon. The news release indicated that Mitrano had taken the lead in most counties, although Della Pia won Tompkins County by more than 500 votes.
Mitrano said in a later news release, “I also want to thank everyone who voted in the NY-23 Democratic primary. You are the backbone, the driving force, the spirit behind our growing movement to put people first. I decided to run for office because of you. I share this victory with each and every one of you.”
She said it’s time for the district to heal and come together to defeat Reed in the general election.
“Let us join together, farmers and small business people, urban and rural, young and elderly, minority and majority populations, immigrants and native-born. Let’s work toward health care, education, labor, and immigration reform; robust infrastructure of roads, transportation, and internet; let’s build the foundation that will attract new investment and bring 21st century jobs to this district,” Mitrano said in a news release. “But for a moment tonight, let us celebrate! Let’s celebrate the hope we feel among all people of this district, friends, neighbors and family, a community spirit towards Republicans and Independents and Democrats alike. Together, let’s put people first.”
Following the primary, Della Pia was criticised after it was discovered that 20 parts of his website were similar to the website of Jon Ossoff, a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for Congress last year in a special election in Georgia. Della Pia said an unpaid volunteer who helped him create the website early in his campaigning process used the wording from Ossoff’s website verbatim. The candidate said that while he supports the policies, he did not know the language was used verbatim.
Despite the controversy, many people stood behind his candidacy, and he thanked them for their support.
Della Pia thanked his family, volunteers, staff, and other primary candidates for their hard work and support, and also urged Democrats to move forward with the common goal of defeating Reed in the general election.
“Here’s the bottom line, folks—unless we all commit ourselves to work together and put all our shoulders to the wheel to win, all of our efforts up until now will be for naught … Now, working together, we can make a stronger, better party that can and must win in November,” Della Pia said in a news release. “The people of the 23rd District are counting on us. We can’t let them down. United, we can offer a future they deserve. Thank you all again, and onward to November!”
Note: This article was updated with quotes from Tracy Mitrano after original publication.