After losing two of three key races last week, Nancy Pelosi declared:
“From our perspective, we won last night. We had one race that we were engaged in, it was in northern New York, it was a race where a Republican has held the seat since the Civil War. And we won that seat. So, from our standpoint, no, a candidate was victorious who supports health care reform, and his remarks last night said this was a victory for health care reform and other initiatives for the American people. From our standpoint, we picked up votes last night, one in California and one in New York.”
Oops, maybe not.
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.
Oswego County elections officials blame the mistakes on “chaos” in their call-in center that included a phone system foul-up and inspectors who read numbers incorrectly when phoning in results. Of 245 races in the county — not including the congressional and court races — 84 had incorrect totals reported election night.
In the congressional race, more votes were cast in Oswego County than any other in the 11-county district.
The district’s second biggest voter turnout was in Jefferson County, where Hoffman also has benefited from a turnaround since election night, gaining about 700 votes. Owens led Hoffman by 300 votes on the final election night tally. But after recanvassing, Hoffman now leads by 424 votes, 10,884 to 10,460.
The race is down to 3,000 votes and there are over 10,000 absentee ballots to be counted, many of which are likely military. Given the historical trend of military votes favoring the coservative candidate, the results could be interesting.
Democrats were very enthusiastic about recounts and recanvassing in the presidential race in 2000, the 2006 Washington state governor’s race and the 2008 Minnesota senate race. I won’t hold my breath waiting for the same enthusiam this time around.