Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) declared victory yesterday in his bid for re-election to a third term in Congress even as thousands of ballots are still being counted and with a winning margin of less than 1 percent over his Republican challenger David Harmer.
Shortly after McNerney's press conference at his Dublin campaign headquarters, Secretary of State Debra Bowen at 5:28 p.m. released the latest vote count showing McNerney with 110,385 votes, or 47.9% of the total votes cast, to Harmer's 108,700 voters, or 47.0%. The American Independent party candidate David Christensen as of late yesterday had received 11,818 votes, or 5.1%, Bowen's office said.
But with at least 50 campaign supporters chanting "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry" and a roomful of media reporters, McNerney said, "it's pretty clear" that when the majority of votes came in Wednesday night showing him up by more than 1,600 votes, he had won the election.
"That was an insurmountable lead given the number of votes still out there," McNerney said. The trend is very clear. The lead is insurmountable."
McNerney acknowledged that there are still at least 11,000 votes yet to be counted in the four counties the 11th Congressional District covers: Alameda, San Joaquin, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties.
But a majority of them came in on provisional ballots on Election Day," he said. "We had a very strong lead then and it would take a very significant change in the trend for my opponent to get enough votes to overcome that 1,600-vote lead. It's just insurmountable at this point."
Harmer, however, disagreed, saying it would be premature to concede while the votes are still being counted.