The Campaign Spot

No Winner in NY-20 For a While, It Seems

With all 610 precincts reporting, Democrat Scott Murphy leads, 77,344 to 77,279 over Republican Jim Tedisco — a 65 vote margin out of 154,623 cast.

There are 6,000 absentee ballots and word is “absentee ballots and emergency paper ballots in the 20th Congressional District special election have been impounded under a court order, said Bob Brehm, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections.” Nothing gets opened until Monday at the earliest.

Also, the New York State Board of Elections extended the deadline for Military and Overseas ballots for the NY-20 race until April 13th — they must be postmarked by March 30th.

Republicans think they have an advantage in absentee ballots, both in terms of voters they know who used absentee ballots, and traditionally in the district.

UPDATE: NRCC statement:

National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Pete Sessions released the following statement tonight on the status of the special election in New York’s 20th Congressional District:
“As the latest vote totals reflect, there still remain thousands of absentee and military ballots that have to be counted. Rest assured that Republicans will ensure that the integrity of the election is protected and every vote is counted.  As it stands now, there is a Republican advantage in the number of absentee and military ballots that have been returned. 
“With that being said, Jim Tedisco has closed the gap in a district that has come to exemplify Democratic dominance in the Northeast in recent elections.  That is a testament to the strength of Jim’s campaign and the effectiveness of the Republican message of fiscal responsibility and accountability that Americans are demanding in the wake of the AIG scandal.
“Less than 150 days ago, President Obama carried New York’s 20th District, and former Congresswoman Gillibrand was handily reelected in this district by a margin of 62-38 percent, despite the fact that her Republican opponent spent $6 million trying to defeat her.  For the first time in a long time, a Republican candidate went toe-to-toe with a Democrat in a hard-fought battle over independent voters. This was hardly a common phenomenon in 2008, particularly in the Northeast.”
History of Recent Elections in NY-20:
•    President Obama carried the district by a margin of 51%-48% in 2008.

•    Kirsten Gillibrand won re-election in 2008 by a margin of 62%-38% against a challenger who spent $6 million.

•    Eliot Spitzer carried the district by a margin of 57%-36% in 2006.

•    Chuck Schumer carried the district in 2004, as did Hillary Clinton in 2006.

All true, but Bush carried the district twice. It’s a purple district. The good news for Tedisco is that he’s got a great shot at making up the difference in absentee ballots, and he seemed to shift momentum back in his favor in those last couple days. The bad news is, he lost a lead, and the race is probably going to end up very, very close.

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