The calendar says it's two weeks after election day, but in one race some people are shouting, "it's not over yet." Yes, the battle for New York's 23rd congressional district keeps setting new records for use of the words unprecedented and strange.
On election night, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman conceded to Democrat Bill Owens, when unofficial results showed him trailing by more than 5,000 votes. Owens was sworn in, and has already voted on the House floor. However, since Election Day, election officials discovered errors in tabulation in two counties that reduced the margin to about 3,000 votes, with some 7,000 absentee ballots left to count.
Doing the math yet? Douglas Hoffman is.
Monday, appearing on commentator Glenn Beck's radio show, Conservative candidate Hoffman was sort of nudged into rescinding his concession.
"If I knew this information at the election night, I would not have conceded," Hoffman said. When Beck asked him if he was "unconceding" and Hoffman replied, "If that's possible, yes." It was hardly an energetic call to arms by the candidate, probably because the math is not in his favor (which, as an accountant, he probably knows).
Hoffman would need to win somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 percent of the outstanding votes; a figure disproportionately higher than he pulled on Election Day. What makes it even harder, is that the absentee and overseas ballots were cast before Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race. At the time, she was polling in the range of 20 percent. If you assume the absentees reflect support for Scozzafava anywhere near that rate, it makes Hoffman's feat that much more challenging.
That might explain why the national Republican Party apparatus does not have any election lawyers working the ground in the 23rd district right now.
As for the Democrats, Jennifer Crider, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said:
"Doug Hoffman conceded two weeks ago knowing that he could not win in the finally tally and his own press person said last week that their chances of closing the gap was nothing more than 'wishful thinking.' Nothing has changed. The absentee ballots that have been counted so far confirm that and it's why the election results have not been contested."
Hoffman, on his twitter account, posted this message: "Reporters want to know if I think I can still win this race. Remember I was a part of the 1980 Miracle on Ice. I believe in miracles."
In a race this strange and unprecedented, a shocking development wouldn't be all that shocking.