In what should have been a gimme election, Louise Slaughter is barely ahead. At this moment, the D&C is reporting that she’s got a 605 vote lead with 2,800 absentee ballots left to count. That means Assini needs about 1,700 of those 2,800 votes to win (over 60%), which is very unlikely, since we’ve seen in other recent tight races (most notably the 2008 Massa-Kuhl race) that absentee ballots generally break in the same percentages as the general election.
Still, that result is way too tight, and an election night mis-count coupled with a few extra Assini absentee ballots could put him over the top.
How did this happen? Simple: Democrats just don’t turn out in off-year elections, especially if there’s nothing going on. In 2012, there were 323K votes cast in NY-25. Last night, 191K people voted. That’s a 37% decline in turnout. If you think this is about Rich Funke, let me point out that 89K voted in last night’s State Senate race. In the race O’Brien won in 2012, 137K voted. That’s a 34% decline in turnout.
This isn’t about Slaughter’s campaign (minimal), Assini’s campaign (also minimal), a “wave” or anything else. It’s about Democrats not going to the voting booth unless there’s a Presidential candidate on the ticket.