A plan to call for a hand count of all ballots threatened to carry the race for Congress in the 25th District into late December or even the New Year. But as YNN's Bill Carey, the threat has now been lifted and the race is over.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- It had been three weeks since an incumbent democratic congressman stood behind a podium and told supporters not to give up, despite the close numbers in his re-election bid.
"I'm absolutely confident that when all the votes are counted, I will be your next congressman," Maffei had said.
But the vote counts proved Maffei wrong. Slowly, republican Ann Marie Buerkle had built an ever increasing lead, which, by this week, had grown to 567 votes.
Maffei was keeping up the pressure to ask a State Supreme Court Justice to order a total recount of all ballots in the district, but, under increasing pressure from within his own party, by Tuesday, there was a change of heart.
It was just after 2 p.m. when a call was received at Buerkle's campaign headquarters. Dan Maffei calling Ann Marie Buerkle to concede.
"We showed that the process does work. That the American system is not broken. And it's message, not money, that will win this race," Buerkle said.
Maffei's comments came in a written statement, saying "I make no apologies, except to my friends, supporters and staff for the fact that the final outcome was not what we wanted."
Maffei, who had worked on Capitol Hill, but dreamed of someday joining the Congress, was seeing that tenure last just one term. He said, "While the dream was short-lived, my gratitude is eternal."
At her headquarters, Buerkle told supporters it was time to go to work, outlining the first key steps she sees in her coming term.
"The tax cuts. That's number one. I think we're going look at health care. We've pledged that, that we will de-fund and repeal the health care bill," Buerkle said.
Buerkle's margin of victory was no mandate. The freshman congresswoman vowing to stand by her principles, but to reach out.
"I think it's most important that I establish relationships with the people who didn't support me. To hear their issues. To understand their needs and to communicate them to Washington," said Buerkle.
She takes office on January 5th.
On Tuesday, Dan Maffei conceded to Ann Marie Buerkle in the 25th Congressional district. Below is the complete video of Buerkle's speech, and below that is Maffei's complete statement that was issued by his campaign.
Rochester: Buerkle speech
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Statement from Maffei
Statement from Congressman Daniel B. Maffei
To my friends, supporters and constituents,
I am deeply and forever grateful for the opportunity to serve you during the past two years. When I won the Congressional seat, I pledged to give it my all everyday and I did just that. I came home every weekend, stayed focused on local issues while supporting national policies beneficial to our region, and did my best to bring our troops home safely from Iraq and Afghanistan.
I served every day honored to live in a community where a shy kid of modest means from a proud Syracuse family and a graduate of the Syracuse public schools could grow up to earn the trust of his community to represent you in Congress. And I learned from you every day, listening to your stories and working tirelessly on your behalf.
My staff both in Washington and in Upstate New York was terrific. I helped them assist thousands of you with challenges ranging from not getting fair treatment from insurance companies and banks to getting life-saving Veterans benefits to keeping businesses open.
The electorate may have changed tremendously from 2008 to 2010 in terms of who turned out to vote but I kept my pledges to the people who elected me and I will forever be proud of that. Not only do I not apologize for my positions on the stimulus, the health care bill, financial reform, and the credit card bill, but my only regret is that there were not more opportunities to make healthcare more affordable to people and businesses and get more resources to the region for needed public projects – particularly transportation and public schools.
I am also deeply proud of my commitment to energy reform and mitigating global climate change. Thank you again to the experts and concerned citizens who stood by me. Denying the clear facts and need for action on this issue either out of political expediency or plain ignorance hurts our local economy and threatens our planet.
I make no apologies, except to my friends, supporters, and staff for the fact the final outcome was not what we wanted. I congratulate Congresswoman-elect Buerkle and her supporters and family. I wish her luck in the new Republican majority.
I made it to Congress - my dream - because of all the great Upstate New Yorkers who, like me, care so deeply about our future. And while the dream was short-lived, my gratitude is eternal.