By Peter J. Smith

LAKE PLACID, New York, November 17, 2009 ( – Doug Hoffman has “unconceded” defeat in the special election for the 23rd New York Congressional District, and now believes that uncounted absentee ballots hold the possibility for a dramatic come-from-behind victory - nothing short of a miracle for the man from Lake Placid.

A re-canvassing effort earlier last week showed that Hoffman, who ran on the Conservative Party ticket, had conceded under erroneous reporting of the vote totals. The Syracuse Post-Standard first broke the news that election officials had discovered over 2,000 misreported or uncounted votes for Hoffman, shrinking Democrat Bill Owens' lead over Hoffman from 5,335 votes to 3,026 votes.

On Glenn Beck's talk radio program Monday, Hoffman withdrew his election-night concession, telling Beck that had he known then how narrow the actual margin was between him and Owens, he would not have conceded.

When Beck pressed Hoffman, asking if he would then “unconcede,” Hoffman replied, “If that is possible, yes.”
With 10,200 absentee ballots having been requested for the election, the NY Election Board has yet to certify the results, and if Hoffman beats the odds, then Owens could be removed from Congress.

The Gouverneur Times reports that Hamilton, Madison, and Oneida counties have reported their absentee ballots, and Hoffman now trails Owens by 2,951 votes.

By the Times reckoning, that leaves 6,123 absentee votes not yet counted. All absentee ballots have been received by county election officials and most will be totaled by next week.

Despite the statistical possibility of winning, Hoffman admitted that, while he was optimistic, beating the odds would be a “long shot.”

Nevertheless, “I'm from Lake Placid,” Hoffman told Beck. “We believe in miracles up here.”

Lake Placid is famous as the site for the “Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Olympic Games, where the young underdog American hockey team accomplished the seemingly impossible by beating the undefeated Soviets – considered the best of the best in the hockey world – four goals to three before going on to win the gold medal.

The metaphor has special significance for Hoffman, a veteran of the 1980 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee at Lake Placid, whose campaign for Congress was a long-shot to begin with, but who was first noticed by pro-life and pro-family groups as the alternative to the pro-abortion and pro-same-sex “marriage” GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava.

Scozzafava later dropped out of the race the weekend before the election, after her campaign tanked. She then chose to endorse Owens, a Democrat who favors abortion, over Hoffman who had been leading in the three-way race according to the last polls taken before election day. Scozzafava's sudden endorsement and pledging labor union support to Owens was seen as a critical boost to edge out Hoffman. 

If Hoffman should pull out a win against Owens, it would deprive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of a crucial vote to pass a final version of health-care reform, which passed by a narrow 220-215 margin. Owens had given voters in NY-23 the impression that he would not support the House version of health-care reform, but changed his tune immediately upon assuming office and cast his vote with Pelosi's bill.

See previous coverage by

Conservative Pro-Life, Pro-Family Dark Horse in NY 23 Race Defeated in Close Race 

NY 23 Conservative Hoffman Jumps to Commanding Poll Lead after Liberal GOP Drops out, Backs Democrat 

Conservative Rebellion Explodes in New York over Extreme Liberal GOP Candidate