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McMurray issues statement on 27th Congressional District count; no concession yet

(WXXI News & AP) Although 27th Congressional District Rep. Chris Collins declared victory on Tuesday as the recounting continued in that race that the Republican lawmaker had with Democrat Nate McMurray, the challenger does not appear ready to concede at this point.

McMurray issued a statement on Wednesday  saying that the Erie County Board of Elections is working to complete its counting of votes. He says right now (as of midday on Wednesday), the difference is less than .5%, a margin that he says in many counties and states would trigger an automatic recount.

McMurray says his campaign will confer with its attorneys and review the numbers to determine their next course of action. McMurray says they’ve seen what he calls “extensive irregularities” in the voting process, especially pertaining to absentee ballots. There were no immediate specifics provided on that claim.

He says that he and his staff  will announce their plans for the future on Monday.

Collins’ campaign issued a statement on Tuesday saying that he led and won on election night and maintained the lead during the entire recanvassing process.

After the last of more than 10,000 absentee ballots were tallied Tuesday, Erie County Republican Election Commissioner Ralph Mohr said it was ``mathematically improbable'' for McMurray to win.

Collins' lead had shrunk to 1,384 with more than 900 affidavit ballots and an unknown number of military and federal ballots still to be counted. 

Here is Nate McMurray's full statement:

"I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this campaign -- my family, our great campaign staff, and the countless volunteers and supporters from 8 counties and across the country, of every political persuasion, who stood with us to fight like hell for integrity and accountability in Western New York. From the start, people on both sides of the aisle doubted us; and the fact that we're even having this conversation proves that we are boldly challenging party politics and have already made tremendous headway.  

Today, the Erie County Board will complete their counting of votes. Right now, it appears that the difference is less than 0.5%, a margin that would, in many counties and states, trigger an automatic recount. We will confer with our attorneys and review the numbers to determine our next course of action. We have seen extensive irregularities in the voting process, especially pertaining to absentee ballots, and there are issues that need to be addressed not only for this election but for all elections in the future to ensure voters are not disenfranchised and that every voice is heard. With this election, we are setting the stage for years to come. My staff and I are planning to spend some long-overdue time with our families over the Thanksgiving weekend. We will announce our plans for the future on Monday. Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the overwhelming support and words of encouragement. We are grateful to each and every one of you.” 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.