Republican Jim Tedisco made up significant ground Wednesday in his bitterly contested Congressional District 20 race in upstate New York against Democrat Scott Murphy, cutting Murphy’s lead in half.
Late Wednesday, Saratoga County’s final tally of all paper ballots -- including those cast abroad by members of the U.S. military -- gave Tedisco a net gain of 163 ballots.
That would have brought Tedisco within just five votes of Murphy, but Washington County also called in new vote tallies that favored Murphy by 81 votes.
The net effect: By late Wednesday afternoon Murphy’s lead in the historically close election dropped from 168 votes to just 86 votes, out of nearly 160,000 cast.
The latest vote total provided on the New York State Board of Elections: Murphy has 79,105 votes, Tedisco has 79,019.
Which candidate will ultimately prevail remains impossible to predict. Several thousand ballots of various types remain to be counted: absentee ballots, military ballots, provisional ballots, emergency ballots, and ballots that have been challenged by either campaign.
With such a close election, a recount and subsequent election lawsuit appear all but inevitable, echoing the drawn out post-election struggle that has left Minnesota without its second U.S. senator five months after Election Day.
As expected, Tedisco made up substantial ground with Wednesday’s counting of absentee and other “paper ballots,” that is, those votes not recorded by a voting machine. What the Tedisco campaign may not have anticipated was the strong positive trend Murphy has enjoyed with the counting of paper ballots in other counties.
Half of the district’s counties now say they have completed the counting of all ballots, with the exception of ballots that have been challenged by either campaign.
A state court is expected to rule later this week on how those challenged ballots will be evaluated and tallied later this week. Over 1,200 ballots have been challenged by the campaigns as possibility invalid.
The five counties that have completed their count of all non-challenged absentee, military, overseas, and other paper ballots are: Saratoga, Washington, Delaware, Greene, and Otsego.
Counties that have not yet reported final paper ballot counts to the State Board are Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Rensselaer, and Warren.
Wednesday afternoon, Tedisco campaign spokesman Tyler Brown told Newsmax the campaign is encouraged by the latest trend that shows the Republican making up ground.
“This was a close race going into Election Day and continues to be so, which is exactly why is it so important that every lawful ballot be counted, and that all the voices in the 20th Congressional District have the opportunity to be heard,” Brown tells Newsmax.
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