Nate McMurray, Democratic candidate for the 27th Congressional District, says he isn’t done fighting following Tuesday’s election, though he walked back his call for a recount in the race.
McMurray unofficially received 130,858 votes, or 48 percent Tuesday night.
His opponent, incumbent Rep. Chris Collins, received 133,838 or 49 percent of the vote.
“This isn’t even a recount. We haven’t even had an official count yet,” McMurray said Wednesday. “In our democracy, every single vote matters.”
Early Wednesday morning, McMurray asked for a recount, a move which Collins’ campaign adviser Chris Grant referred to as “manic behavior”. At a press conference during the afternoon, McMurray indicated he may have used the wrong terminology.
“I’m new to politics. Terminology, whether recount or count, I’m still learning as we go,” McMurray, the Grand Island town supervisor, said.
McMurray appeared to concede the race Tuesday night, saying, “It looks like we’re going to come up a little short.” Collins’ campaign took that as a concession.
“He did concede, so there you go,” Collins said just minutes after that McMurray speech. “He conceded so I’m claiming victory.”
Collins did not speak to the media on Wednesday, but Grant did.
“Congressman Collins won this race yesterday,” Grant said. “He won a majority of the counties. He won in clear and convincing fashion. It’s time for Nate McMurray to let the will of the voters stand,”
While McMurray claims there are 18,000 votes still to be counted in this race, a review of the number of absentee ballots returned across the district reveals a much lower number. As of Wednesday, approximately 10,718 absentee ballots had been returned district-wide in Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans, Monroe, Livingston, and Ontario Counties. Officials with the Wyoming County Board of Elections did not respond to requests for the number of absentee ballots there.
Ralph Mohr, Republican Erie County elections commissioner, says it is impossible to determine the exact number of affidavit ballots to be counted, and that emergency ballots have already been included in the tally.
In Erie County, elections officials will begin to count the absentee ballots on November 20th.