posted on May 24, 2011 23:03
*At the last report WBTA News received, eighty-seven percent of precincts were reporting.
WBTA News and the Associated Press are declaring Kathy Hochul the unofficial winner of the special congressional election in New York's 26th Congressional District. Hochul upsets Republican Jane Corwin in a normally-Republican district, carrying forty-eight percent of the vote to Corwin's forty-two percent. Jane Corwin has conceded her defeat this evening.
The race to replace disgraced former Congressman Chris Lee intensified about two weeks ago. That's when the Democratic National Campaign Committee took an active interest in the Hochul campaign, pouring money into the race for the possibility of winning a historically-Republican seat in the House of Representatives. Recent polls had then put Hochul four-to-six points ahead of Jane Corwin going into tonight's special election.
The Corwin campaign, meanwhile, was hurt by several incidents in the race, most notably the entry of Independent and self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate Jack Davis. Davis' painted himself as a true independent – but his conservative values and struggle to distance himself from the Corwin campaign's accusations that he was a Democrat, likely won over many Republican voters. A widely-publicized incident in which a Corwin campaign staffer harassed Jack Davis on videotape further agitated the voting populace.
Jack Davis today garnered nine-percent of the vote.
On the other side of the ticket, Hochul continuously called herself a"the underdog" in this race, knowing there are around 30,000 more Republicans than Democrats in the district. Hochul also received some help from higher up. Just days before the election, Governor Andrew Cuomo formerly endorsed Hochul with an internet advertisement. And on Monday, both Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy and former president Bill Clinton endorsed Hochul to the public.
Official polling numbers may not be released for quite some time in this race, as the Corwin campaign earlier today leveled a court order barring certification of a winner in the race. The courts must release election officials to allow them to count emergency ballots and absentee ballots.
Genesee County results were not yet available at the time of this writing.