When Conservative Doug Hoffman conceded to Democratic Bill Owens on election night, even I thought it was a little too soon. Hoffman, who had been polling ahead of Owens in the race to represent New York’s 23rd congressional district, declared the race over just after midnight when he was down in the count by around 5,000 with as many as 10,000 absentee votes still uncounted. Sure, chances were slim he could pull out a victory, but his concession still struck me as surprisingly swift and bloodless considering that the campaign had been rather contentious. Well, Hoffman is now having second thoughts.
Hoffman is reportedly down by around 3,200 votes with some 7,400 still to be counted. This is enough to make him wish he hadn’t given up so easily. On Glenn Beck’s radio show today, Hoffman took back his concession, saying, “If I knew this information at the election night, I would not have conceded.” The gap between Hoffman and Owens has narrowed since election night as errors have been corrected and totals updated. Hoffman says he’s counting on absentee ballots from soldiers based at the district’s Fort Drum to put him over the top. “Hopefully, that’ll be our edge,” he told Beck. But those votes were cast when the race was still a three-way contest. (Moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out days before election day.) In other words, Hoffman would have to get some two-thirds of the absentee votes to pass Owens, which is highly unlikely. Owens was sworn in on Nov. 5 and has a crucial vote for the House Democrats’ health care reform bill.