Everyone seems to agree that democrat Dan Maffei won his election Tuesday, recapturing a seat in Congress that he lost two years ago. But republican Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, running more than 14,500 votes behind, has yet to formally give up. YNN's Bill Carey reports on the holdup in a concession.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- After months of campaign battles, it is a moment of redemption. The votes are counted. A winner declared and the loser accepts his or her fate.
“I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction. But the nation chose another leader and Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation,” said presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
With the exception of 2000, it is a tradition that has continued over the decades. A gracious concession that begins to heal divisions created by the long, heated campaign.
But while smooth concessions may be the rule at the national level, close races for Congress have produced a quite different atmosphere. Days and sometimes weeks of tension after the votes are cast.
Two years ago, democrat Dan Maffei appeared to have lost his seat to republican Ann Marie Buerkle, but insisted on a lengthy counting process, refusing to give up.
“It's time for Dan Maffei to do the honorable thing and concede this race,” Onondaga County Republican Chairman Thomas Dadey said in 2010.
Maffei did end up losing. But two years later, the situation has changed. Dan Maffei won back his seat in Congress. This time, it's Ann Marie Buerkle delaying on a concession.
Election night, Buerkle told supporters she was hoping for more vote reports from republican strongholds in her new district to change the outcome.
“God Bless the United States of America and I will be back in a little bit. Thank you so much,” Representative Ann Marie Buerkle said on Election night.
But the trend never changed and she never returned.
“It's clear that I'm going to be the next Congressman in January and we're going to start doing the work that we need to do to prepare for that. It's up to her whether she wants to do a formal concession or not,” Maffei said.
The republican chairman, so adamant about Maffei's duty two years ago? Not so strident this year.
Dadey said, “It's tough when you lose. I was a candidate and lost many years back and it’s no fun to be in that position.”
Keep in mind, a concession has no legal impact. It is just a speech.
“Even if they conceded, our certification is what matters. So if somebody conceded and they ended up getting more votes, they still win,” Onondaga County Elections Commissioner Helen Kiggins Walsh said.
And whether the candidate insists on it, or not, elections officials say all those paper ballots will be checked before any final results are certified, anyway.
Kiggins Walsh said, “ Every vote will be counted. It doesn't matter if someone was unopposed. Every vote's counted.”
Whether there is a concession, or not, elections officials will begin counting absentee and affidavit ballots next week.