Democrat Bill Owens confounded the experts and defied more than a century of history as he won the three-way race for Congress from Oswego County and the North Country.
With about 80% of votes counted, Owens held about a 4,000 vote lead.Ã‚Â There are as many as 11,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted and a handful of voting locations across the district had their voting machines sealed for hand counts beginning today.
Conservative Doug Hoffman, who ran a national campaign in a local Congressional district, conceded shortly after midnight.
“We fought the battle and we have to keep fighting,” he said to a crowd that had dwindled to a handful by the time of his concession speech.Ã‚Â Hoffman campaigned on a platform of sending a message to national Democrats.Ã‚Â He said he called Owens to congratulate him on his win.
Hoffman thanked those who “stood up when it wasn’t right or proper for their party”.Ã‚Â Hoffman failed to win the Republican party’s endorsement and waged one of the strongest third-party battles in recent memory.Ã‚Â His surging candidacy forced Republican Dede Scozzafava to quit the race.Ã‚Â Scozzafava felt ill treated by the GOP and gave her support to Owens.
That support, and the determination of some of her supporters to vote for her anyway, provided Owens with his margin of apparent victory.
“They put aside partisanship,” Owens said of his voters, “and declared we’re ready to move forward, not backwards.”
Some parts of the 11-county Congressional district have not been represented by a Democrat since the end of the Civil War.
Owens victory speech:
Hoffman’s concession speech: