With all the talk of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman "unconceding" in New York's special House election, it's worth examining the latest vote counts.
After Rep. Bill Owens' (D-N.Y.) margin of victory over Hoffman shrunk from 5,335 to 3,026 according to a Syracuse Post-Standard report last week. The news gave Hoffman a glimmer of optimism after seeing his bid for Congress fall short just days before the House was set to vote on its healthcare reform bill.
Several publications now point out that Hoffman's odds of victory are even more remote than once thought.
The Watertown Daily Times points out that 7,419 ballots have been returned out of 11,741 that were distributed. According to the Times, Owens led Hoffman 3,176 votes before absentee ballots were counted, 150 more votes than the Post-Standard reported.
After absentee votes were tallied in Hamilton, Oneida, and Madison Counties, Hoffman trailed Owens by 2,951 votes according to the conservative Gouverneur Times. According to the Times, there are 6,123 ballots remaining.
Here is more analysis from the Washington Independent's Dave Weigel:
On election night, voters cast 2,365 ballots in Hamilton County: Hoffman won 50.0% of the vote, Owens won 37.6% and Scozzafava won 12.4%. There were 207 absentee ballots cast. The breakdown:
Doug Hoffman - 81 (39.1%)
Bill Owens - 50 (24.2%)
Dede Scozzafava - 76 (36.7%)
On election night, voters cast 17,674 ballots in Madison County: Hoffman won 50.8% of the vote, Owens won 45.8% and Scozzafava won 3.4%. There were 496 absentee ballots cast. The breakdown:
Doug Hoffman - 170 (34.3%)
Bill Owens - 203 (40.9%)
Dede Scozzafava - 122 (24.6%)
On election night, voters cast 5,165 ballots in Oneida County: Hoffman won 53.8% of the vote, Owens won 39.2% and Scozzafava won 7.0%. There were 762 absentee ballots cast. The breakdown:
Doug Hoffman - 446 (58.5%)
Bill Owens - 219 (28.7%)
Dede Scozzafava - 97 (12.7%)
That's a lot of variance between three counties. In one, Hoffman did better than he did on election day; in another, both Hoffman and Owens did worse than they did on election day; in another, Owens lost on election day but won on absentees. But the total picture from this batch
of 1,465 absentee ballots is:
Doug Hoffman - 697 (47.6%)
Bill Owens - 472 (32.2%)
Dede Scozzafava - 296 (20.1%)
That's a net 225 votes for Hoffman, who's down by 2,951 votes with 6,123 left to count. It's simply not the kind of ratio that will deliver victory. If the numbers keep breaking this way, it would point an Owens win of around 2[,]000 votes. But keep in mind, we don't have absentees yet in the huge Owens counties of Clinton and St. Lawrence.
Despite the numbers, Hoffman continued to remain optimistic today, saying that he was a part of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" and believes that such a miracle could happen again with his campaign.
“Doug Hoffman conceded two weeks ago knowing that there was no way he could take the lead in the finally tally; his own press person characterized their chances of closing the gap as nothing more than ‘wishful thinking,'" said DCCC spokesman Shripal Shah. "Nothing has changed since then."
He added that "the absentee ballots that have been counted so far confirm this point and that’s why the election results were not contested. Congressman Owens has been hard at work on behalf of his constituents and that will remain his focus moving forward."