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The 25th Congressional race drags on

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: The 25th Congressional race drags on
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On election night, there was the usual parade of winners and losers. Some claiming victory. Others conceding defeat. But that didn't happen in one key regional race. YNN's Bill Carey says that race remains, for now, undecided.

CENTRAL NEW YORK -- As the final absentee count wrapped up this past weekend in Wayne County, Ann Marie Buerkle's lead in the race for Congress in the 25th district grew to 567.

The only step left, a state Supreme Court justice is set to review a couple of hundred absentees that were challenged during the counting process. Most of them from republican voters. Judge Brian DeJoseph's decision is likely to add more votes to the Buerkle lead.

Everyone waited for one final step, for democrat Dan Maffei to concede. Instead, the likelihood has now been raised of what amounts to the "nuclear option" in this day of new voting technology in New York State where paper ballots are scanned by voting machines.

Word began circulating Monday that Maffei would press for the long and costly procedure of recounting those hundreds of thousands of ballots by hand. That word arriving just as republican calls for a concession were building.

"Ann Marie is the winner. She clearly is in the lead. There isn't enough to change the outcome of this race and it's time for Dan Maffei to do the honorable thing and concede this race. It's tough to lose. I've been there. But there comes a point when it says, okay, this is over and the fat lady's warming up, 'cause it's over," said Tom Dadey, Onondaga County Republican Chairman.

By mid-day, Capital Tonight's Liz Benjamin was quoting sources as saying that attorneys and party leaders were trying to convince Maffei to throw in the towel. They do not believe a hand recount would reverse the outcome and they wonder about the high cost of the effort, both to taxpayer funded boards of elections and to the Maffei campaign.

By day's end, the planned court hearing Tuesday had been pushed back by 24 hours. The Maffei camp saying it was studying documentation of the vote count. Others believing the delay offers more time for the certainty of the outcome to sink in.

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