The race that galvanized a nation of conservatives: the NY-23 congressional election 9 days ago– isn’t over yet. Absentee ballots are still being counted, and a re-canvassing of the district shows that the race has tightened to around 3000 votes. Dark horse conservative Doug Hoffman could still win this thing, as the race still hasn’t been certified, and absentee ballots will decide it’s outcome.
This could be huge.
Democratic Rep. Bill Owens was quickly sworn into office the day before a rare weekend vote in the House of Representatives. Owens’ support of the healthcare bill helped seal the Dem’s narrow victory.
Doug Hoffman had conceded the NY-23 race, based on what are now known to be election-result snafus. For example, in Oswego County Hoffman was reported to lead by only 500 votes on election night, with 93 percent of the vote counted. Now, inspectors have found Hoffman actually won the county by 1,748 votes — 12,748 to 11,000.
New York law provides that military and overseas ballots received by Nov. 16th, (and postmarked by Nov. 2) will be counted. Standard absentee ballots had to be returned this past Monday.
John Conklin, communications director for the state Board of Elections says the state sent a letter to the House Clerk last week informing the House that no winner had been determined in the race, and therefore the state had not certified the election. The letter, however, incorrectly noted that Owens still led by about 3,000 votes, and that the special election was not contested — two factors that allowed Nancy Pelosi to swear Owens in before the health care vote.
“We sent a letter to the clerk laying out the totals. The key is that Hoffman conceded, which means the race is not contested. However, all ballots will be counted, and if the result changes, Owens will have to be removed.”
Hoffman campaign spokesman Rob Ryan says they probably wouldn’t have conceded the race so quickly, had they known it even tighter than it appeared. Oswego county was a big part of the decision, according to Ryan. “That’s the thing that threw us off.” More votes were cast in Oswego county than in any other county. On Hoffman’s next step, Ryan says:
“We’re basically watching and waiting.” We’ve been looking very closely at the recanvass. We’re going to see how this week shapes up, and then we’re going to determine what to do.”
We’re keeping a very close eye on this one. There are about 10,200 absentee ballots outstanding. A victory for Hoffman– the unknown conservative who came out of nowhere, with no money, and who was opposed by the GOP– would be incredibly sweet for his supporters across the nation.