12:35 a.m. WED. 12/4: "This one was worth the fight," Doug Hoffman said in his concession speech. "This is only one fight in the battle."
Now all the pundits -- who, as Michelle Malkin observes, claimed that tonight didn't mean anything -- will tell us what it means. Nice work if you can get it.
I'm on deadline for the American Spectator, so not a complete wrap-up just yet, but when Hoffman's speech was over, one of his supporters said two words that struck me: "Twelve months."
Exactly. And only four months until . . .
Well, it's cold in upstate New York in November. But it's warm in Florida in August. Hit the tip jar.
12:05 a.m.: HOFFMAN EXPECTED TO CONCEDE IN STATEMENT.
11:32 p.m.: Neither the Owens campaign nor the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is declaring victory. As Ryan told me shortly after 11 p.m., "You don't see the Owens people jumping for joy. . . . They know the same thing we know" -- namely the uncertainty of unreported precincts and uncounted absentee ballots.
11:25 p.m.: "I think it's very premature," Hoffman campaign spokesman Rob Ryan said of the report that NBC News had called the race for Democrat Owens. "There's a buncn of big question marks out there." With many thousands of military absentee ballots and key precincts not reporting, the Hoffman campaign is ready for a long night.
11:20 p.m.: Hoffman campaign sources report that only 50 percent of the votes in Oswego County have been counted.
11:15 p.m: NBC has reportedly crawled out on a limb and called Democrat Bill Owens a winner. Beware of that.
10:51 p.m.: Clinton County is more than 75% counted, and the numbers there project well for Hoffman. A campaign source just said, "We're doing good in Oneida and St. Lawrence [counties], but we don't know if that's being reflect in the numbers" being reported on TV.
The top command of the Hoffman campaign is in a private banquet room dubbed "the war room," where they are crunching the numbers precinct by precinct. It's already been a longer night than most expected and guests at the party upstairs are getting restless.
Problems are reported with a total of 11 voting machines (4 in St. Lawrence County and 7 in Fulton County). With 63% of precincts reporting, Owens leads 49% to Hoffman's 44%, a margin of about 3,400 votes, with 5% for Dede Scozzafava. Many military absentee ballots (Fort Drum is in the district) are yet to be counted.
10:29 p.m.: Reports of voting machine malfunctions in St. Lawrence and Fulton Counties. National Review is a bit worried. The Hoffman campaign is still optimistic, but this long delay is stressful. As the percentage of returns increases an early lead for Democrat Bill Owens is shrinking. Whereas Owens led by 8 points with 21% reporting, it's now 5 points with 39% reporting. Stay tuned.
10:11 p.m.: At this point, with about 20% of precincts reporting, it appears that Democrat Bill Owens is returning very strong numbers -- indeed, suspiciously strong numbers -- in Dede Scozzafava's home territory of Jefferson County.
10:05 p.m.: There have been reports of problems with voting machines in the district. However, early returns from Clinton County -- home territory for Democrat Bill Owens -- indicate a Hoffman victory. Total turnout for Republicans was stronger than for Democrats in that key county.
In a conference call with bloggers, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser just described the apparent conservative surge as "an organic movement that is rising up." SBA list put more than 200 volunteers into the 23rd District and distributed more than 100,000 pieces of literature on behalf of the Hoffman campaign.
9:20 p.m.: Watertown office of Hoffman campaign reports "strong" Republican turnout. GOP turnout in Plattsburgh also reported strong, lower turnout for Democrats.
9:15 p.m.: Hoffman press aide Sandy Caligiore: "We will win a close election." Conservative Party official Jim Kelly said he expects Hoffman to win a 42%-45 plurality in the three-way race. Remember that, even though Dede Scozzafava suspended her campaign on Sunday, her name is still on the ballot.
9 p.m.: Polls just closed. The Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times is planning to livestream the vote count. Will update frequently with the vote count, related news, and reports here from Hoffman campaign headquarters in Saranac Lake.
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