Last night, I was live on the scene at Ann Marie Buerkle's campaign party only to leave with that undecided feeling. As the morning hours emerged, Dan Maffei held roughly a 2,000 vote lead with 96% precincts reporting. In some elections, it might be enough to call the election for a candidate, but in NY-25, the game is far from over.
Wayne County is the area holding up the show. Only 60% of the precincts have reported so far. This is by far the most Republican portion of the district and no doubt, voters will be leaning towards Republican challenger Ann Marie Buerkle. The question is, by how much.
Republicans faired well in a tough congressional atmosphere. The state-wide candidates performed poorly even in the more conservative Upstate NY. So far, Andrew Cuomo is leading Wayne County by 8 points. Republican Joe DioGuardi, running in a special election for US Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand has a small 1% lead. Clearly, Ann Marie will get no help from the top of the ticket.
If nearby districts are indications for NY-25, then Ann Marie Buerkle has a good shot. Both NY-29 and NY-24 switched their blue colors for red and despite poor top of the ticket performance in those districts.
Personally, I think this one is going to be up to the lawyers. I think it is likely Ann Marie will close the gap, the initial count may even put her ahead, but it is unlikely she will lead by enough votes to be declared winner. Absentee ballots also will likely favor Ann Marie, but I haven't found any news as to the number of them outstanding.
While the rest of the country wakes up to Republican control of the House, NY-25 will be waiting, probably for several days, to find out who they will be sending to represent them.
Karen at Lonely Conservative has the absentee ballot count at about 10,000. She also reports on a rumor that Wayne County voting machines were malfunctioning. It may be an indication on why the reporting is lagging.
Jill Terreri at the D&C sheds a little more detail on Wayne County's significance:
But Wayne County, which has about 12 percent of the voters in the district, had only reported about half of its election districts.
Those returns showed that Buerkle had reduced Maffei's lead but still trailed. Absentee ballots could also be a factor.
Some info from the Wayne Post on slow reporting:
Election officials received reports of election results from 40 of the 67 districts in Wayne County before stopping for the night after working 24 straight hours. Wayne County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Board of Elections office on Montezuma Street in Lyons to impound all the results still being tabulated. Counts will resume Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.
Districts were slow to report voting numbers due to problems reading the tapes, some of which were physically brought to the Board of Elections office.
CNY.com has reported that Wayne County returns will be released by 4pm today. Also, they provided specific absentee ballot figures, although no specifics from the counties the ballots are from.
More than likely, the final outcome will be decided by absentee ballots which will be counted later this month. The Boards of Election in the four counties encompassed in the 25th District, Onondaga, Cayuga, Wayne and Monroe Counties, have sent out a total of 11,645 absentee ballots, of which 8,344 have been sent back.