You saw this coming. In an interview with a local New York television station today (see here), Doug Hoffman is now saying he would not have conceded the race to Democrat Bill Owens if he knew he was trailing his opponent by closer to 3,000 votes rather than the roughly 6,000 his advisers were projecting when he bowed out on election night. Moreover, Hoffman is suggesting that Nancy Pelosi should have waited for the results to be certified by the New York state election board before giving Democrat Bill Owens the oath of office to serve in Congress. Hoffman says his next step will depend on the outcome of the count of the absentee ballots, which begins next Tuesday, but he advised supporters to be prepared to make donations to fund a legal challenge to the results. That money is necessary to pay for the lawyers (and guns) required to win the recount.
According to the New York elections website (see here) the last day to receive regular absentee ballots was Tuesday, November 10, but military and “special federal ballots” can be received as late as next Monday, November 16. (All ballots must be postmarked by November 2.) That means the final (assuming no recount!) results probably won’t be known until sometime near the end of next week. I still think, based on the fact that there are maybe 6,000 votes to be counted, that it is extremely unlikely that Hoffman can pull this out, given that he is behind by more than 3,000 votes.
However, if the result of this race is overturned, it will have next to no impact on Democrats’ control of the House, of course. But the symbolism will be important because the Democrats’ talking points so far have been that the result of the governors’ races in New Jersey and Virginia are largely irrelevant to national issues – it was the congressional race that really reflected national issues. Republicans, of course, have been spinning the governors’ results as a referendum on Obama. If Hoffman wins the New York congressional race, it would feed the Republican interpretation.
Stay tuned. This could get ugly.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is scheduled to appear on Meet the Press this weekend. How long will it take David Gregory to ask whether she will rule herself out of a 2012 presidential run? She will, of course, categorically deny any intent to run. The interesting issue, however, is her choice of language. Does she leave any wiggle room whatsoever?