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Buerkle Closing In on Victory; Tim Bishop Takes Lead in N.Y.

One of New Yorks two outstanding Congressional races may be nearing resolution.
 
Twenty days after polls closed, Republican challenger Ann Marie Buerkle has a seemingly insurmountable lead over Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei, according to a Monday report in the Syracuse Post-Standard.
 
Having finished counting absentee ballots Sunday, Buerkle leads by 567 votes. There are fewer than 300 challenged ballots. That means that the incumbent Democrat could win every challenge but still trail the tea-party-backed Buerkle.
 
Attorneys for the campaigns are set to review challenges Tuesday before the state Supreme Court. Theres also a possibility that a judge could grant Maffeis request for a hand recount.
 
But given the updated vote totals, pressure appears to be building on Maffei to concede. A local Republican official over the weekend called on the Congressman to do just that, according to the Post-Standard.
 
The Maffei campaign did not immediately return a message left Monday morning.
 
A Buerkle victory would bring the net Republican House pickups this cycle to 62 seats.

Meanwhile, in New Yorks 1st district, Rep. Tim Bishop (D) has pulled ahead of Republican challenger Randy Altschuler, although by a razor-thin margin.
 
At todays lunch break, Bishop led by just 17 votes 95,185 to 95,168 with absentee ballots from just one town left to be counted. The candidates split that town, Brookhaven, on Election Day.
 
A Bishop spokesman suggests that the lead is actually significantly larger, because Altschuler has challenged 230 more ballots than Bishop.
 
They may be able to challenge their way to a lead, but weve been picking up votes every single day, and theyve been increasing their challenges in this desperate attempt to blunt our momentum, Bishop spokesman Jon Schneider told Roll Call on Monday.
 
The campaigns have an initial meeting scheduled with a judge Tuesday but likely wont be done with counting absentees until Wednesday. The status of all challenged ballots likely wont be known until next week.
 
Neither county officials nor the court system plan to conduct election business from Thursday through Sunday, according to Schneider.

The two New York races are among five still outstanding from the midterm elections. Two races in California have not yet been officially called, although Democratic Members lead in both contests. In another race in Texas, votes are in the process of being recounted. Democratic Rep. Solomon Ortiz trails in that race.

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