A surprising win for Democrat Dan Maffei in Oswego County helped him build a lead that is likely to give him back the seat in Congress he lost to Ann Marie Buerkle two years ago.
Maffei, running in Oswego County for the first time, captured the plurality of the county’s vote, taking 45.5% of the vote to 43.2% for Buerkle, the Tea Party-backed Republican who won a razor-thin fight to unseat Maffei two years ago.
Ursula Rozum, running on the Green Party line, took more votes than a Green candidate has ever earned in Oswego County, winning nearly 8% of the vote.
The new 24th district encompasses the western half of the county, including the cities of Fulton and Oswego.
Across the district, Maffei built a large lead in his home county, Onondaga, added to it in Oswego County, and then gave up about half of the lead as Buerkle won Cayuga and Wayne counties.
The unofficial tallies across the four-county district:
- Maffei: 129,408 votes, for 48.2%
- Buerkle: 117,904 votes, for 43.9%
- Rozum: 21,291 votes, for 7.9%
There are between 15,000 and 21,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted, but Buerkle will have to win a very large percentage of those votes in order to overtake Maffei.
The two campaigns had sought to have all ballots impounded after the vote, anticipating a long and drawn-out recount. A judge refused to issue the impound order, saying there wasn’t a need yet. At least one of the counties, Wayne County, will wait nearly two weeks to begin counting absentee ballots.
Because of that, and because of the national spotlight on this race, no one’s calling it a final result or a done deal.
“I am confident than when the count is over, I will be your next Congressman,” Maffei said to cheers from his supporters at the DoubleTree Hotel in Syracuse.
Buerkle told her subdued supporters that it was too early to say who had won.
Both candidates spoke well before Cayuga County and Wayne County released election results, which was well after 1:00 a.m.
Rozum conceded defeat early but turned in a strong performance, aided in part by public perception of the two major party candidates and the nastiness of their TV-commercial battle.
- Congressman Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) easily won reelection in a redrawn district that now includes the western half of Oswego County;
- Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) won his rematch with Republican Matt Doheny, though Owens lost Oswego County in this year’s redistricting;
- Oswego County’s Amy Tresidder failed in her bid to unseat State Senator Patty Ritchie, 70% to 30%;
- County voters gave majority votes to President Barack Obama and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats;
- Michael Backus, the current county Republican Party chief, won election to the County Clerk post left vacant by the death this year of George Williams. He beat former County Legislator Phil Vasho 60% to 40%.