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Buerkle Builds Lead As Ballot Counting Nears End Buerkle Builds Lead As Ballot Counting Nears End

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Buerkle Builds Lead As Ballot Counting Nears End

The final county has counted its absentee ballots in Upstate New York, and it appears to have lifted Republican Ann Marie Buerkle (R) to a very narrow victory over Rep. Dan Maffei (D). The Syracuse Post-Standard says Buerkle now has a 567-vote lead.

In counting its absentee ballots, Wayne County -- which gave Buerkle 63 percent of the vote on Election Day -- boosted the Republican's lead over Maffei by 269 votes, according to numbers released by county elections officials. Buerkle won 60 percent of the absentee ballots there.

Maffei netted 557 votes from a count of absentees in Onondaga County -- his base -- on Friday. That was a large gain, but not enough to overcome Buerkle's marginal lead. Wayne County's tally only padded her edge.

Attorneys will head to court early this week to argue over whether a handful of disputed absentee ballots should be counted. But a Onondaga County elections official noted that Maffei's campaign was the one that objected to most of those disputed ballots, meaning that any count would likely only boost Buerkle's lead.

Maffei has indicated he may ask for a recount, but Democrats should not put too much hope in that process. In several other House contests this year, recounts have changed the final result by just a handful of votes; certainly not enough to overturn the certified result.

If Maffei does not ask for a recount, Buerkle's win means House Republicans have netted 62 seats this cycle. There are four other races that have yet to be called by the AP, and Democrats lead in three, while Republicans hold the advantage in one.

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