Congressional candidates neck and neck

On the Saturday before the election, four prominent Democrats did some last-minute campaigning at a crowded Gardenview Diner on Old Liverpool Road.

Incumbent U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand greeted voters between bites as did Congressman Dan Maffei. Later, Assembly shoo-in Sam Roberts showed up to shake hands. Smilin' Sam was the only one of the four to spend some money at the diner, as his entourage sat down for eggs and home fries.

Three of the four ended up winning their elections, while Rep. Maffei continues to await a final count in the hotly contested 25th Congressional District.

Still raising money

When Maffei found himself behind by more than 650 votes on the day after the 2010 election, he did what he always does.

He asked his supporters for more money.

"We need your help to ensure Republicans can't steal this election," Maffei wrote in a mass e-mail on Nov. 3. As an added enticement, the House freshman reminded potential donors, "Contributions to the Maffei Victory Fund 2010 do not count towards the 2010 election contribution limits of Friends of Dan Maffei. In addition, contributions do not count toward an individual's aggregate election cycle limit."

In other words, if you'd already contributed the legal limit, now's your chance to funnel even more cold cash to the congressman with the million-dollar war chest.

Final tally a week away

Not to be outdone, and hoping against hope to cling to her slim winning margin, Republican challenger Ann Marie Buerkle followed the incumbent's lead and issued a plea for donation to her own Post Election Fund.

"Every little bit helps," she wrote in an e-mail, "and we're going to need every bit we can to ensure our success."

The official tally, including more than 8,000 absentee ballots in Maffei's stronghold in Onondaga County, won't be completed for at least another week.

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