7 Month CD Special National Bank of Coxsackie

Race for Congress rests on absentees


CHATHAM—The outcome of the special election for Congress in the 20th District is too close to call even after all polls in the 10-county district reported, according to Albany area TV stations.
     Preliminary results showed Democrat Scott Murphy leading Republican James Tedisco by 59 votes, 77,344 to 77, 285, but there are reportedly more than 9,000 absentee ballots that must still be counted, and the deadline for receiving those ballots has not yet expired. Ballots from military personnel serving overseas do not have to arrive at local boards of elections for two weeks.
     The 20th District includes all of Columbia County, and preliminary results without the absentee ballots showed Mr. Murphy, a Glens Falls businessman, led Mr. Tedisco, the minority leader of the state Assembly, by a margin of 56% to 44% in this county.
     Mr. Murphy’s margin in Dutchess County was smaller, 52% to 48%, and Mr. Tedisco carried Greene County, 55% to 45%, and Rensselaer County, 51% to 49%.
     Attention on the race is unlikely to abate until the final results determine a winner sometime after the mid-April deadline for absentee ballots, and it is possible that the loser will mount a legal challenge to the tally. The absentee ballots that have arrived have reportedly been impounded, and a districtwide recount will undoubtedly be conducted before a winner is declared.
     The special election was called after Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
     The center of population in the district is Saratoga County, part of which lies within Mr. Tedisco’s Assembly district. He won there by a margin of 54% to 46%. But overall the vote was far closer than registration figures would predict, because Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district by about 70,000. That lopsided difference did not stop Ms. Gillibrand, a Democrat, from winning in 2006 and again in 2008.
     Senator Gillibrand, a Greenport resident, stood with Mr. Murphy Tuesday evening, March 31, as he addressed his supporters in Saratoga Springs. Both national parties spent heavily in support of their candidates, seeing the race as a test of the public’s support for the policies of President Obama. Mr. Murphy had not run for public office before this race. Mr. Tedisco has been in the Assembly for more than two decades, and he had high name recognition because of his post as leader of the Republicans in the lower house of the legislature.
      In their public remarks after the vote counts were announced Tuesday night, both Mr. Murphy and Mr. Tedisco sounded optimistic. Neither candidate conceded the race nor claimed victory, though both talked about what they plan to do in Washington.

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