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Daniel Ross thinks he still has a chance at pulling out an improbable victory in State Senate District 7, covering northwest Nassau County, though mathematically the odds are very much against him.
Counting of paper ballots was under way Thursday, officials said.
Election Day results showed Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) with 48,305 votes and Ross, a Manhasset Democrat, with 44,707 -- a margin of 3,598.
But Nassau Board of Elections officials say there are nearly 24,000 paper ballots still to be sorted through, thanks to the power outage and ensuing voting scramble triggered by superstorm Sandy.
This includes 11,683 “emergency” ballots and 5,287 affidavit ballots, along with 7,003 absentee ballots. Historically, affidavit ballots are often ripe for disqualification, meaning the actual number counted could be a few thousand less than 24,000.
If, say, 21,000 ballots were eventually counted, Ross would have to earn about 59 percent of them to overturn the Election Day results.
“Obviously, it’s a tall chore,” Ross said Thursday.“But it’s still within striking distance.”
“Senator Martins has an insurmountable lead, which continues to grow,” countered Scott Reif, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). “Just today, he has picked up votes in the Democratic strongholds of New Castle and Elmont. It’s clear that Senator Martins will be returning to the State Senate in January.”
The balance of power in the Senate is in flux. Election Day results showed Democrats ahead in 33 of 63 contests. But a Democrat elected in Brooklyn has said he’ll join the Republican conference. And one upstate race is too close to call, with the Democrat ahead by just 139 votes and 8,000 paper ballots to count.
UPDATE: Nassau officials have completed counting the "emergency" ballots and Martins has increased his lead to 4,171, according Republican Elections Commissioner Louis Savinetti.
This puts a Ross comeback near out-of-reach status.