Chris Collins wins NY-27, but not by much

Nov 21, 2018

Incumbent Republican Chris Collins has declared victory after the absentee and emergency ballot count in Erie County kept in him in a very slim lead over Democratic challenger Nate McMurray.

Erie County election officials counting absentee and emergency ballots Tuesday
Credit Nick Lippa / WBFO

McMurray outgained Collins 3,279 to 2,422 Tuesday, but it leaves him just under 1,400 votes behind. While there are still over 900 affidavits left to be counted, it’s mathematically improbable for McMurray to win.

Erie County Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr said the race is all but over.

“While it may be mathematically possible, it’s highly improbable Mr. McMurray would get 100 percent of the remaining outstanding votes. Mr. Collins it appears (has been) re-elected to another term as the Congressman from the 27 District,” he said.

Statement from Collins Campaign Spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre on Absentee Results in NY-27.
Credit Chris Collins

Erie County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner said they were surprised how high the turnout was.

“This is about as close as any Congressional race that any of us can remember has come. It’s extremely tight,” said Zellner. “As the commissioner (Mohr) said, we count every ballot, every time, every year. We’ll be counting the remaining affidavit ballots when we begin the canvass tomorrow.”

This election was even closer than the 2012 race between Collins and then incumbent Kath Hochul, which was decided by about 5,000 votes. McMurray has yet to concede, but said he will make a statement once every vote is counted. It could be until the first week of December before results are official.

Both Zellner and Mohr agree, it's highly unlikely there will be a recount.

“New York State does not have, like in other states, if you fall in a certain percentage you have an automatic camp count,” Mohr said. “New York State recognizes the canvass and the procedure that’s set up for it. They take that as the final results unless it’s established that there was some kind of miscounting by the machine, or the scanners, or some kind of error occurred. But it’s only under those types of circumstances that a court will order a recount.”

Erie County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner (left) and Erie County Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr (right)
Credit Nick Lippa / WBFO