As the first day of counting absentee votes in last week’s special election to replace corrupt former State Senator Carl Kruger came to a close this evening, Republican candidate David Storobin led Democratic Lew Fidler by just 37 votes, a source familiar with the situation told The Politicker.
When the process convened for a lunch break earlier this afternoon, Mr. Storobin’s lead had dropped from his Election Day total of 119 to 62.
Only 296 votes have been counted, about half of the 757 valid absentee votes when one takes into account that some valid votes were contested and placed aside for the moment. Additionally, hundreds more ballots initially ruled to be invalid are out there for both campaigns to contest, some of which are likely to be brought back into play.
The counting, which is organized by Assembly Districts overlapping with the State Senate seat in question, swung back and forth as it reaches turf favorable to each of the candidates, but has systemically favored Mr. Fidler thus far.
Bastions of support for both candidates remain to be counted, notably a heavily Orthodox Jewish Assembly District favorable to Mr. Storobin and an Assembly District directly overlapping with Mr. Fidler’s current City Council district.
Regardless, the tallying looks like it’s currently on track to be under the 110 vote margin threshold necessary to trigger an automatic hand recount of all of the ballots in this extremely close election.