New York Republican Wins U.S. House Seat; Two Races Undecided

Only two U.S. House seats remain undecided three weeks after the Nov. 2 midterm elections, now that Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei has conceded to Republican challenger Ann Marie Buerkle in the race to represent New York’s 25th Congressional District.

Buerkle, 59, defeated Maffei, 42, after as many as 11,000 absentee ballots were counted by hand and polling officials verified returns on electronic voting machines used for the first time in a statewide election.

“Thanks especially to all the people, concerned citizens, who took time out of their busy lives to help stop what they see as a movement in the country away from the ideals of its founding,” Buerkle said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. She is an assistant state attorney general and served on the Common Council in her hometown of Syracuse.

Maffei, elected in 2008 in the district that includes Syracuse, was trailing Buerkle by 567 votes as of Nov. 21, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard. A final tally in the race hasn’t been certified.

“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,” Maffei said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. He was elected two years ago with 55 percent of the vote.

No Regrets

Maffei said he didn’t regret his support for such legislation as the 2009 economic stimulus package, the health-care overhaul and the toughening of financial industry regulations.

“My only regret is that there were not more opportunities to make health care more affordable to people and businesses and get more resources to the region for needed public projects -- particularly transportation and public schools,” he said.

Also yesterday, three-term Democratic Representative Jim Costa of California won re-election as vote-counting neared an end in his Fresno-area district, according to the Associated Press. Costa led Republican Andy Vidak, 52 percent to 48 percent, AP said.

Nationwide, the net Republican gain of at least 63 House seats in the Nov. 2 elections means that the party will hold at least 242 of the 435 seats. Republicans needed a gain of 39 seats to take control of the chamber in the congressional session that convenes in early January.

Long Island Race

Buerkle’s victory gives the Republicans eight seats in New York’s 29-seat House delegation, with one race still undecided. In the 1st Congressional District that covers the eastern end of Long Island, four-term Democratic Representative Tim Bishop and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler remain in a close race in which the lead has changed periodically as the vote count continues.

Democrats had controlled the state’s House delegation 27-2 following a special election in an upstate district a year ago.

In the 2006 and 2008 elections, “Democrats picked up a ton of seats historically and traditionally held by a Republican,” said Steve Greenberg, director of the Siena Research Institute at Siena College in Loudonville, New York.

The other undecided House race in this year’s vote is in California, where two-term Democratic Representative Jerry McNerney is narrowly ahead as election officials tabulate remaining ballots.

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