Former Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney is leaning toward running again for the battleground House seat she lost during last year's midterm election.
Tenney told CNBC she met earlier this year with leaders from the National Republican Congressional Committee, who encouraged her to run for the New York 22nd District seat she lost to Democrat Anthony Brindisi by 1 percentage point in 2018.
"They know that I am the only one who can win it," said Tenney, who added that she's "leaning closer to running."
Democrats picked up 40 GOP seats in a "blue wave" victory to seize the majority in the House, and now Republicans look to reverse that in a presidential election year. The NRCC plans to target Brindisi and dozens of other Democrats in the next round of elections. At the moment, election analysts such as Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball rank the 22nd District seat as a toss-up. It's one of about a dozen seats that Sabato considers vulnerable for House Democrats in the 2020 elections.
An NRCC aide noted that officials have met with a few candidates who could fight for the district and deferred to Tenney on questions about whether she met with them. A spokesman for Brindisi did not return a request for comment.
If Tenney enters the race for Brindisi's seat, she would join a growing contingent of Republicans eyeing the district and setting up a potential primary. Steve Cornwell, district attorney of Broome County, has said he's running, while people familiar with the matter added that Binghamton Mayor Rich David is considering a run. Tenney's name recognition would likely make her the front-runner in a primary.
The last time Tenney took on Brindisi, the NRCC and Republican super PACs such as the Congressional Leadership Fund spent millions trying to defend the seat, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. They tried to link Brindisi with the likes of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The NRCC shelled out $2.4 million, while the Congressional Leadership Fund spent just more than $3 million.
The Democrats were regularly returning fire themselves with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spending about $2 million on attack ads against Tenney.
The race featured President Donald Trump making his first visit to the district in upstate New York in a bid to gin up support for Tenney.
Brindisi ended up with the fundraising edge over Tenney. Federal Election Commission records show Tenney finished raising $3.2 million while Brindisi brought in $4.6 million. Brindisi raised $476,000 in the second quarter of this year and has $770,000 on hand.
Tenney, on the other hand, still has an active congressional campaign account but didn't raise any money this past quarter. She has just over $46,000 on hand.