Democrat Dan Maffei reversed the tables on Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle on Tuesday, appearing to regain the House seat he lost to Buerkle in a 2010 upset.
With about 99 percent of the vote counted as of 2:15 a.m. this morning, Maffei led Buerkle by 4 percentage points, 48 percent to 44 percent, according to unofficial election returns from across the 24th Congressional District. Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum had 8 percent of the vote.
Maffei stopped short of declaring victory when he addressed his supporters just before midnight.
“We still have some votes to count, but I am confident that when the count is over, I will be your next congressman,” Maffei said to roaring applause. At the time, he had an 11-point lead.
Although the Associated Press called the race in favor of Maffei before midnight, Buerkle did not concede and said the tide could change dramatically because votes were slow to come in from rural Wayne County and parts of Cayuga County.
Maffei won Onondaga County by a little more than 12 percentage points over Buerkle, according to unofficial returns with 100 percent of the election districts reporting. Onondaga County is the single largest county in the four-county 24th Congressional District.
It was a big improvement from his performance in 2010 when Maffei won Onondaga County by 7 percentage points — a margin that was not enough for him to make up decisive losses in three other counties in the district.
When Maffei took the stage, he called himself “the Comeback Kid.”
Buerkle addressed her supporters at about 11:15 p.m. at the Onondaga County Republican Party reception at the DoubleTree Hotel in DeWitt. She told them despite Maffei’s lead, the race was too close to call because only one town in Cayuga County had reported results and only a few towns in rural Wayne County had reported.
“We just don’t have enough results in yet,” Buerkle told her supporters, noting the race could come down to a count of absentee ballots. She added, “I am afraid this will be somewhat of a replay from last time.”
With 99 percent of the vote tallied, Maffei led Buerkle by about 12,000 votes. FULL POST