It’s one of the closest Congressional races in the country, and Wednesday night, Andy Kim said he’s won it.
“We have run this campaign with integrity and honor, and I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished,” he said to a room of supporters at his campaign headquarters.
Democratic challenger Kim was up by more than 2,000 votes on Wednesday night against Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur, but the race hasn’t been called yet by the Associated Press.
And MacArthur says it’s not over yet.
“This has been a hard fought campaign and like Andy Kim, I’m ready to see it come to an end,” MacArthur said in a statement. “I have always said that I will be guided by the voters of the district and there are nearly 7,000 more of them who haven’t been heard from yet.”
Vote-by-mail ballots used to have a deadline of 8 p.m. on election night, but a new state law means mail-in ballots postmarked on Election Day will be counted as long as they arrive by 8 p.m. Thursday.
“We’re working on them as we speak, also,” said Burlington County Board of Elections chair Joe Dugan. He estimates they’ll have 500 mail-in ballots to count and that there are also roughly 2,000 to 3,000 provisional ballots left to count once they’ve been verified.
“When you go to the polls and your name is not on the book, they can’t let you vote in the machine, they give you a provisional ballot. Now once you fill that ballot out it comes back to us, we have to send it to the superintendent of elections office so they can verify that person is in fact registered to vote. When that is done, the ballots will come back down to us and we’ll count them,” Dugan said.
That means the final tally may not be revealed until Monday or Tuesday.
“We know there are more votes to be counted, and we want every vote to be counted, but a lot of those votes that are left to be counted are in places like here in Burlington County that I’ve had a lot of great support from, so we’re very confident we’ll be able to move forward with this, and I’m eager and excited to serve the people of this district,” said Kim.
Burlington’s come out strong for Kim. But MacArthur leads by more than 30 thousand votes in the Republican stronghold of Ocean County. But more mail-in ballots are still coming in – and they have more than 2,400 provisional ballots to verify and tally as well.
Despite all the votes yet to be counted, Kim said today he remains confident in his victory.
“This is something we did not take lightly. This was the most important decision of this entire campaign, and I made sure we went through everything very carefully,” he said.
If Kim is declared the winner – Chris Smith would be New Jersey’s only Republican Congressman heading back to Washington in January.