Doug Hoffman conceded defeat on election night after being told that he was down by more than 5,300 votes with 93% of the vote counted, and that he had nearly lost his own stronghold of Oswego County. His concession allowed Bill Owens to be sworn in as Representative of the 23rd District in New York--and after breaking four of his campaign promises within the first hour of being sworn in, Bill Owens gave Nancy Pelosi the vote she needed to pass her Health Care Bill the following day.
The problem is...Bill Owens might not have won the 23rd District Congressional seat after all.
Both of the things that Doug Hoffman was told on election night turn out not to have been true. A "snafu" by officials in Oswego county and elsewhere caused Hoffman's vote to be under-reported. He actually won Oswego County by 1,748 votes -- 12,748 to Owens' 11,000. District-wide, Owens lead over Hoffman has now shrunk to 3.026 votes, not 5,300. And the race is going to be decided by 10,200 absentee ballots, many from the military, that remain to be counted.
NY-23 is the home of Fort Drum and the Army's 10th Mountain Division, by the way.
That's right. The race in NY-23 is not official yet. Doug Hoffman very well may have won.
If the absentee ballots show that Hoffman actually won, then Bill Owens will be removed from office and Hoffman will be sworn in.
And what about the Health Care vote?
The vote is over. The fact that Hoffman conceded based on false information given to him means that the election was uncontested. Legally, there was no bar to Owens being sworn in. The vote stands.
But if Hoffman had not been given that false information...Nancy Pelosi would have lacked at least two votes in the final balloting on Saturday. Two votes because Rep. Cao, the lone GOP Representative voting in favor of the bill indicated that he only voted for it when it became obvious it was going to pass. Take away those two votes, and the tally on the Health Care bill would have been 218-217.
And with it that close, and every single vote mattering as THE vote that would have passed the bill, it is quite possible that one or two more of the handful of "Blue Dog" Democrats who voted "yes," would have voted "no" instead.
But while no one can know for sure what might have been, and nothing can be done to change what has already happened, one thing is certain. The next time Health Care comes up in the House, there is a very good chance that Bill Owens will not be voting on the issue.