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NY-27 recap: Jacobs holds lead in GOP primary and special election

Nate McMurray (left) and Chris Jacobs (right) squared off in a special election to fill the vacant 27th Congressional District seat.

The coronavirus pandemic created a unique situation in the 27th Congressional District.

After the resignation of Chris Collins, Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided to hold a special election in April to fill the seat -- but that election, between Democrat Nate McMurray and Republican Chris Jacobs, ended up being moved to Primary Day because of the pandemic.

Two primaries to see who will run for the seat in the general election are taking place in the district, one Republican, one Libertarian.

There’s a lot on the line for Jacobs, running in two races (the special election and the GOP primary) in a district that is heavily Republican and covers all of Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and Livingston counties and parts of Erie, Monroe, Niagara, and Ontario counties.

And due to a surge in interest for absentee voting due to the pandemic, we won’t know who wins any of these races until July.

As of 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, with 68% of the election districts reporting, Jacobs was leading McMurray 68%-29% after counting votes made in person today and during early voting. Absentee ballots can’t be counted until after June 30.

Candidates in the Republican primary for the 27th Congressional District (left to right): Stefan Mychajliw, Beth Parlato, and Chris Jacobs.

In the Republican primary, as of 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, with 83% of the election districts reporting, Jacobs secured 61% of the vote, Beth Parlato had 20%, and Stefan Mychajliw had 17%.

McMurray didn't sound ready to concede the race. He said there are still a lot of absentee ballots to be counted, but he did express concerns about problems he heard about at polling places throughout the 27th district.

"I think that by and large, the boards of elections in all these counties tried to handle it as best they could, and it’s a challenge, it’s a difficult thing, but at the same it’s a wake up call that our voting system needs to be updated, it’s antiquated," McMurray said.

Jacobs said that he was concerned it might have been confusing for some voters who had to vote twice on Tuesday, once in the Republican Primary and again in the special election.

“To run two races, two different candidates on the same day, I was concerned and taking very seriously that the voters understood that they could go in and we needed them to vote twice and to explain that so, I’m heartened that it seemed like the voters did it,” Jacobs said.

In a tweet early Wednesday morning, Jacobs said he was confident that he was victorious in both races.

The Libertarian primary had Duane Whitmer leading Nicholas Phelps 71%-22% with 83% of the election districts reporting.

The winners of the GOP and Libertarian primaries will face McMurray, who has secured the Democratic nomination, and Green Party candidate Michael Gammariello in the general election in November. Parlato will run on the Conservative Party line, Jacobs on the Independence Party line.