Hoffman Closing, But Not Fast Enough

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After the second day of counting absentee ballots, Doug Hoffman has gained 344 votes on Owens, a pace that is not nearly enough to change the outcome of this race. According to the Watertown Daily Times , this is where things stand with about 43% of the absentee ballots counted:

Owens

Hoffman

Dede

Clinton 10536 (68) 7530 (58) 686 (23)
Essex 3718 (0) 3175 (0) 432 (0)
Franklin 5,125 (0) 4,589 (0) 247(0)
Fulton 1969 (84) 2489 (179) 676 (62)
Hamilton 888 (60) 1184 (85) 293 (87)
Jefferson 10460 (164) 10884 (165) 1179 (151)
Lewis 2169 (0) 2676 (0) 282 (0)
Madison 8087 (203) 8985 (170) 602 (122)
Oneida 2024 (219) 2779 (446) 362 (97)
Oswego 11000 (276) 12748 (315) 950 (123)
St. Lawrn 12987 (0) 8748 (0) 1,194 (0)
Total 70,037 67,205 7,558
% of vote 48.7 46.4 4.9

There are 4,262 absentee ballots remaining to be counted.  Assuming that Hoffman continues to gain at this incremental pace, and that Scozzafava continues to take close to 20% of the absentee ballots, Owens is still likely to win by some 2,000 votes. That margin is roughly 1.5% of all votes cast, including those going to Scozzafava.  That may not be enough to justify a recount.  Although standards vary from state to state, it is often the case that the margin separating the two candidates has to be 1% or less of all votes cast to trigger an automatic recount (in states that have this provision.)   I spent some time looking through New York’s electoral laws and there does not seem to be a provision for an automatic recount.  I’ll keep checking.

Meanwhile, Owens is settling into life in Congress, with less than a year to solidify his support before facing reelection.  To help him do so, the House Steering and Policy Committee placed Owens on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees.  Fort Drum is located in Owens’ district which also shares a border with Canada.  And like any incumbent trying to protect his position, Owens pledged to “do everything in my power to maintain and strengthen Fort Drum as a Member of Congress, and as a member of the Armed Services Committee I will fight tirelessly for the base, the surrounding community and for our entire district, all who benefit from Fort Drum’s presence.”  Protecting local military installations is a nonpartisan position that should appeal to both Republicans and Democrats.

One Response to Hoffman Closing, But Not Fast Enough

  1. Jaime Fuller says:

    I’ve followed this election since this summer, and I can’t say I was surprised by Owen’s win. Scozzafava was chosen by the Republican Party because she was liberal compared to most of the party, and many members of the party thought the only way to fight against the growing blue trend in Upstate New York was by refraining from ideological purity tests and choosing someone who could balance between Republican and Democratic platforms. However, differences in how parties and the public approach elections made it hard for Scozzafava to conduct a strong campaign. While Republicans were fighting over whether to support Hoffman or Scozzafava, the majority of voters seemed to be deliberating whether to support the ideologically similar Owens and Scozzafava. Party purity seemed to win this political tug-of-war, and as a result, Owens was able to pull a fund raising coup, raising more than Scozzafava and Hoffman combined from July 1 to October 14, a factor which probably played a large role in his eventual victory. As I said, I was pretty confident Owens was going to win from the get-go, but I’m a lot less certain about the next big race everyone is excited about in New York, the 2010 Senate races. Senator Gillibrand’s seat has been eyed hungrily by many New York politicos, but potential Democratic primary opponents, like Rep. Carolyn Maloney, quickly disbanded exploratory committees when the Obama administration stepped in order to ensure that Gillibrand would enter the campaign would the strongest possible party support. The only potential Democratic primary contenders left, like Suffolk County legislator Jon Cooper, don’t really stand a chance against Gillibrand’s prodigious party coffers. Gillibrand’s seat also has the distinction of being once held by Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, a fact that will probably make the 2010 election be labeled as a referendum on Obama even more than other elections taking place that year. Rudy Giuliani has expressed interest in running against Gillibrand, and current polling hints at a difficult race for Gillibrand — the latest Rasmussen poll places Giuliani at 53%, Gillibrand at 40%, with a ±4.5% margin of error. The race gets even more interesting when you consider that Schumer is also up for reelection in 2010 — Michael Roston has a interesting post here that shows why this might help Gillibrand’s chances against Giuliani or any other Republican candidate (http://trueslant.com/level/2009/11/23/how-will-schumers-re-election-campaign-affect-a-giuliani-senate-bid/). Regardless, this race means that the nation’s eyes will linger on New York for another year, and it’s always exciting when the news is about something I recognize from back home — the 2010 election fits the bill because Gillibrand used to be my representative before she was chosen to fill Clinton’s empty seat.

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