A GOP source on Capitol Hill said Thursday afternoon that Republican Jim Tedisco’s camp has abandoned hope of winning New York’s 20th district special election but that the former state Assembly Minority Leader won’t concede the race to Democrat Scott Murphy until technical legal questions surrounding voter residency issues are resolved.
The source said that Tedisco believes the residency issues that came up during absentee vote counting after the March 31 contest could have a bearing on future races in New York. As such, the source said, Tedisco wants to see those issues resolved before ending the legal battle.
The latest vote totals released by the New York Board of Elections on Thursday afternoon gave Murphy a 401-vote lead in the race — he had 80,368 votes to Tedisco’s 79,967.
Officials from both campaigns spent Thursday reviewing ballots that were objected to based on questions of intent, and the residency issue is expected to be addressed during proceedings before a judge on Monday.
Meanwhile, Tedisco’s cause wasn’t helped Wednesday by a report in the Albany Times Union that revealed the former state Assembly Minority Leader authorized a top staffer to pay personal legal bills from a party account.
Recently installed state House Minority Leader Brian Kolb, who succeeded Tedisco, confirmed to the paper that Tedisco authorized his chief of staff, William Sherman, to cut a $32,536 check from the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee account to pay for expenses incurred in a defamation lawsuit. The private agreement was unknown to Kolb and the rest of the GOP Conference until members received a set of anonymous documents that were also mailed to the Times Union.
Kolb defended the payment as a legitimate expense to defend a key party employee on an issue of free speech, though Kolb noted he would not have done the same thing.