Despite a higher than usual number of absentee ballots left to be counted, Republican State Sen. Chris Jacobs declared victory Tuesday night in the special election for New York’s 27th Congressional district, as well as the three-way primary for who will represent the GOP in the race for the seat this November.
Jacobs has secured 68.7% of the more than 80,000 votes tallied as of Wednesday, while Democrat Nate McMurray has secured 29.5% of the vote. Jacobs has also secured nearly 71% of the more than 58,000 votes tallied in the Republican primary, with challengers Stefan Mychajliw and Beth Parlato nearly splitting the remaining tallied votes.
“We move forward toward taking the seat of Congress and finally getting representation back to the 27th congressional district so we can fight for Western New York and fight for our country,” Jacobs told supporters and the media Tuesday night.
Despite Jacob’s declaration, absentee ballots cannot be counted until July 7. In large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 131,000 absentee ballots locked away as of Tuesday night and thousands more are expected to arrive in the mail over the next few days. Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr told WBFO it may be the first race he’s seen where more voters mailed in their ballots than physically came to the polls.
McMurray, who nearly defeated then-incumbent Republican Chris Collins for the deeply-red district in 2018, expressed optimism on Twitter Wednesday, noting the remaining mail-in ballots need to be counted, as well as the fact he will challenge Jacobs again in November’s general election.
“What do we do next? We do what’s right. That’s always been the only answer. And today the right thing is to count every vote, and find a way to prepare for what’s next,” he tweeted. “Heads up. Resolute.”
Jacob’s GOP primary challengers do not have the same optimism. Mychajliw, who is the Erie County comptroller, conceded the race Tuesday night, saying he called Jacobs to congratulate him.
“While not victorious, I’m proud of the race we ran. We stayed above the fray, and ran a positive campaign on the issues,” said Mychajliw, who had secured nearly 13% of the primary votes as of Wednesday, in a statement. “I’m a loyal Republican — always have been, always will be. Just like I have in the past, I will work hard to keep NY-27 in Republican hands in November."
Parlato, a Darien attorney, also appeared to concede the primary race. Parlato, who has secured 16.2% of the votes tallied thus far, released a statement Wednesday that did not mention Jacobs but thanked her supporters.
“We ran a tough campaign, and I’m proud of all that were involved,” she said. “I look forward to campaigning for President Trump as we fight harder than ever to protect our freedoms and conservative values.”
Tuesday’s special election was called by Gov. Andrew Cuomo after the seat was vacated by Collins last fall.
Collins was indicted for insider trading charges in August of 2018, but continued to run for re-election and narrowly defeated McMurray, then the Grand Island town supervisor, that November. However, in October of last year, Collins resigned the seat and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false statements to the FBI.
Collins was sentenced to serve 26 months in federal prison in January, but his reporting to prison has been delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If Jacobs is indeed the winner of Tuesday’s special election — he called it “mathematically impossible” for McMurray to catch up — he will fill the seat for at least the rest of 2020. The general election this November will determine whether Jacobs or McMurray fill the seat for a two-year term beginning in 2021.