Mark Weiner |

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today endorsed Martin Babinec in the three-person race for New York’s 22nd Congressional District, marking the first time the powerful business group has endorsed an independent candidate for Congress.

The Chamber decided to pass over Republican Claudia Tenney, who called the group “crony capitalist pig” in a tweet in 2014 after the group endorsed Rep. Richard Hanna in their GOP primary race. The tweet has since been deleted.

Hanna, R-Barneveld, is retiring at the end of the year. Babinec, Tenney and Democrat Kim Myers, a Broome County legislator from Vestal, are seeking to fill the open seat.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials ripped Tenney, a state Assemblywoman from New Hartford, and Myers in their endorsement of Babinec.

“Voters in the 22nd Congressional District have the choice between three candidates, two of which are running on alleged business acumen matched with extreme views,” said Eileen Braden, vice president of political affairs for the Chamber.

Tenney has operated her own small business, and Myers, the daughter of the founder of the Dick’s Sporting Goods chain, started her own retail store.

“Martin Babinec, on the other hand, offers voters a third option as an independent reformer with a strong background of creating jobs,” Braden added.

Babinec, of Little Falls, is an entrepreneur who founded TriNet, a cloud-based human resources company with $2 billion in annual sales and more than 2,500 employees.

Babinec has invested $2.2 million of his personal fortune into his campaign for Congress on a party line he established, the Upstate Jobs Party.

New York’s 22nd District covers all of Madison, Oneida, Cortland and Chenango counties and part of Oswego, Broome, Herkimer, and Tioga counties.

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