Doug Hoffman takes it back.
With the margin of votes between him and Democratic candidate for Congress Bill Owens shrinking, he told conservative radio and TV talk host Glenn Beck Monday that “if I knew this information at the election night, I would not have conceded.”
Owens held about a 5,000 vote margin over Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate who picked up official Republican backing in the final days after Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race. She threw her support to Owens.
But there were problems tallying the vote, particularly in Oswego County. The current vote has Hoffman within 3,000 votes.
Hoffman conceded that night. Owens claimed victory, was sworn into office and within hours, cast one of the crucial yes votes for a health care reform plan. It passed by just 5 votes.
Here’s the exchange with Beck, whom Hoffman calls his mentor:
BECK: Are you officially un-conceding at this moment?
HOFFMAN: Yes, if I knew this information at the election night, I would not have conceded.
BECK: So are you un-conceding?
HOFFMAN: If thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possible, yes.
There are about 6,000 absentee ballots to be counted, according to a roundup published yesterday by NewsChannel 9. He would have to take more than 75% of the remaining ballots in order to win.
Elections experts say that absentee ballots tend to mirror the general election result. This is a slightly different case, as most people would have filled out their absentee ballots before Scozzafava quit the race. Her support at that time those ballots would have been filled out was somewhere between 30 and 10%. Owens was pulling about 35% of the votes in the three-way race.
However, if the race tightens even further, it could spur the Hoffman camp to sue for a full recount, in which every ballot could be challenged.
If Hoffman was to win a recount, Owens would be forced from office and Hoffman would be sworn in as Congressman. All of the votes Owens had cast up to that point would stand, however. Owens was legally sworn in because Hoffman had conceded.