New York’s 23rd Congressional District race supposedly concluded last week when conservative candidate Doug Hoffman conceded the race to Democrat Bill Owens, when the Hoffman campaign was told it was down 5,335 votes with 93% of all the county precinct votes tallied. However, the Post Standard, a local paper in Syracuse, is reporting that after recanvassing all the ballots, NY-23’s race has tightened even further.
Reporter Mark Weiner found that the 11-county district recanvassing has narrowed Owens lead over Hoffman to 3,026 votes. A little over 10, 000 Military and absentee ballots have yet to be touched. The Washington Times talked to Hoffman campaign spokesman Rob Ryan about the peculiar circumstances.:
“Part of the reason we conceded when we did was the figures we were getting from the boards of elections. We thought we were down 5700 votes, and we conceded.
The military ballots and the absentee ballots were postponed due to the shortness of the race and it basically has to do with the military and the overseas ballots, because they weren’t sent out until two weeks before the election. So, they decided they needed to give them two weeks from November 2nd for them to come back in,” said Mr. Ryan.
Mr. Ryan said the campaign has no plans to challenge the result right now. Even with the 10,000 and change absentee ballots remaining to be counted, he considers the chances of winning to be a long shot.
“At this point. There is no basis with 3000 votes. We have to be within striking distance of a few hundred votes before we challenge anything,” he said.
Here is the kicker. Mr. Owens was sworn in by speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi before the New York State Board of elections certified a winner.
Mr. Ryan is taken aback that Ms. Pelosi swore someone who was not certified by the New York State Board of Elections yet.
“How could she have seated Owens in the first place, when he wasn’t certified in the first place. He is not a congressman under the election laws under the state of New York.”
The House Clerk’s office, Donald Myhill told the Washington Times,:
“Whenever there is a special election, the House, and the Senate does this as well—- they will swear in a member if they receive a letter from the state certifying there is no contest.”
The House Clerk’s Office sent the Washington Times a copy of the letters received from the New York State Board of Elections Co-Executive Director Todd D. Valentine, Co-Executive Director Robert A. Brehm, and Clerk Lorraine C. Miller that was included in the House Congressional Record on November 6, 2009, the day Mr. Owens was sworn in.:
However, what about the election results? If Doug Hoffman comes out on top after Mr. Owens was sworn in and before a winner was even certified by New York state officials, what kind of a legal snafu is being created? Even if Mr. Hoffman does not end up beating out Mr. Owens in terms of votes, the closeness of the race shows Democrats continue to fool themselves as they point to NY23 referencing a liberal agenda wins races. More developments will be posted as they come in.