According to the numbers I'm looking at, this thing could come down to just a handful of votes. In the last article I read, about 8,400 absentee ballots have been received. Maffei is currently down by about 680. To win, he'd need to open up an 8 percent gap among those ballots. Most of them are from Onondaga County, which on Tuesday he won by--you guessed it--8 percent.
That leaves me with two thoughts. The first: Will Maffei's vote against the additional Afghanistan funding last summer hurt him among the overseas military voters, who will be part of this final count? He gave an impassioned defense of this vote in one of the debates I saw, and concluded by saying that if that vote cost him the election, then so be it.
The second is the hobby-horse I like to ride regarding attack ads. No one's hands are clean in this election, but some of Maffei's ads were pretty sharp and character-driven--especially the one regarding Buerkle's delinquent property taxes. Based on what I read in The Post-Standard on this, Buerkle may have actually been trying to help out her tenants. Obviously there were national-level factors involved in this race, but did those ads turn off enough people to make a difference? Could they have backfired?
Note: This blog draws in part on my experiences and observations interviewing political figures, writers, and analysts for "The Campbell Conversations" on WRVO. To hear past interviews I refer to in these posts, please go to the show's website. The views expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent Syracuse University, the Campbell Institute, or the WRVO Stations.
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