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Maffei lead widens for NY's 24th Congressional District

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Maffei lead widens for NY's 24th Congressional District
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An error in the numbers in Cayuga County had been corrected, widening Democrat Dan Maffei's margin of victory in the race for Congress in Central New York's 24th District. It was a 2,000 vote mistake. Maffei's lead over Republican incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle is now about 14,500 votes. YNN's Bill Carey says Buerkle is not conceding, similar to what Maffei did when he was on the losing end of the vote totals two years ago.

CENTRAL NEW YORK -- Election Night, two years ago. Incumbent Democratic Congressman Dan Maffei was embroiled in a race with Republican challenger Ann Marie Buerkle that was "too close to call."

“I'm absolutely confident that when all the votes are counted, I will be your next Congressman,” Dan Maffei said that night.

But, when the count of absentee ballots was complete, Maffei's prediction was wrong.

Fast forward to Election Night, 2012. Again, predictions of a close race as Maffei tried to take his seat back. And some familiar words from the podium at his headquarters.

“At this point, I am confident that when all the votes are counted, I will be your next Congressman,” Maffei said Tuesday night.

This time, though, carrying a lead of more than 14,000 votes, it appears Maffei's claim was right.

“Central New York now has its own ‘Comeback Kid,’” he said.

This time around, it is Ann Marie Buerkle hoping absentees will make a difference.

“I'm afraid this is going to be somewhat of a replay - maybe not - of last time. It's just not going to be decided tonight,” said Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle on Tuesday night.

The math, though, doesn't seem to work. There are close to 21,000 absentee ballots in play. But, to overcome Maffei's lead and win the race, Buerkle would have to get more than 80 percent of those voters - something that is very unlikely.

Dan Maffei is already laying plans for his return to Congress.

“In terms of how to set up the office and certainly how to make sure that we provide the best services that we can to constituents. Of course I'm going to try to improve on all those things and, therefore, there are going to be a lot of differences,” said Maffei.

And, already, experts are saying Maffei should not take for granted that he will be on Capitol Hill longer, this time around. The mistake, they say, is comparing a vote in 2012 to a vote in 2010.

“The composition of the electorate changes dramatically from an off-year to a presidential year. When the younger people drop off in a non-presidential year, you get more of a Republican composition of the electorate. 2014 could be that, again. And then in 2016, they'll come back again. So, it's very likely it could go back and forth,” explained Jeff Stonecash, Syracuse University-Maxwell School.

And there could be more nights where voters will have to wait to see just who their next representative will be.

Counting of absentee ballots in the 24th District is expected to begin next week.

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