Recanvassing shows NY-23 race tightens even as Rep. Bill Owens is sworn into House seat
By Mark Weiner / The Post-Standard
November 12, 2009, 6:02AM – ap
Democrat Bill Owens delivers his victory speech at his headquarters in Plattsburgh last week. Owens declared victory after Conservative nominee Doug Hoffman conceded the 23rd Congressional District race election night. Now recanvassing shows the special election has narrowed to a 3,000-vote difference, and will be decided by a count of absentee ballots.
Washington — Conservative Doug Hoffman conceded the race in the 23rd Congressional District last week after receiving two pieces of grim news for his campaign: He was down 5,335 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted on election night, and he had barely won his stronghold in Oswego County.
As it turns out, neither was true.
But Hoffman’s concession — based on snafus in Oswego County and elsewhere that left his vote undercounted — set off a chain of events that echoed all the way to Washington, D.C., and helped secure passage of a historic health care reform bill.
Democratic Rep. Bill Owens was quickly sworn into office on Friday, a day before the rare weekend vote in the House of Representatives. His support sealed his party’s narrow victory on the health care legislation.
Now a recanvassing in the 11-county district shows that Owens’ lead has narrowed to 3,026 votes over Hoffman, 66,698 to 63,672, according to the latest unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.
In Oswego County, where Hoffman was reported to lead by only 500 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted election night, inspectors found Hoffman actually won by 1,748 votes — 12,748 to 11,000.
The new vote totals mean the race will be decided by absentee ballots, of which about 10,200 were distributed, said John Conklin, communications director for the state Board of Elections.