Open Thread: The NY-26 special election. UPDATE: Corwin Concedes. Over.

By this time, many of you die-hard political junkies are probably either pining for the fjords or pining for some Grateful Dead music as the NY-26 special election staggers to a close. “What a long strange trip it’s been.” But the finish line is in sight, and this evening we offer you an open thread to comment while we wait for the polls to close and keep you up to date on the latest happenings in the Brouhaha Near Buffalo. On second thought, given the way this is playing out and its position near the water, no matter who wins, it’s a race that may allow Cleveland to relinquish the moniker of the mistake by the lake.

As I mentioned in this morning’s update, the recent polling took me by surprise when fake “Tea Party candidate” Jack Davis wound up shedding voters who flocked to Democrat Kathy Hochul at a better than five to one clip over Republican Jane Corwin. While I was unable to suss it out, Stacy McCain came up with one possible answer I missed.

But what Jazz points out is, upon reflection, quite logical: Jack Davis ran as a Democrat three times — in 2004, 2006 and 2008 — and it only makes sense that most of his “soft” support would be Democratic voters. Once these voters became aware that Kathy Hochul was the actual Democrat candidate in the 26th District special election, most of them quite naturally switched their preference to her.

Therefore, those voters who actually do vote for Crazy Jack — however small their number — will come almost entirely from the ranks of Republican voters or independents who, in most years, lean toward the GOP.

I’ve spent a little time jawing with McCain during the last few election cycles, and while he’s a cynical old coot, he’s probably on to something there. Either way, we both agree on one point: Tonight’s results are nearly impossible to predict in advance because of the treacherous nature of polling a decidedly low turnout election in a single district which may, in the end, come down to nothing more than the weather today.

Meanwhile, the Gray Lady is taking a bit of joy in Corwin’s admission that she may have let the message horse get out of the barn before she could get a harness on it.

“I probably would have addressed the Medicare message coming out of my opponent quicker,” Ms. Corwin said before a small group of elderly New Yorkers and dozens of local and national journalists in Amherst. “I have to admit, when she started making these comments I thought, ‘This is so outrageous no one would ever believe it.’ Apparently some people did.”

Win or lose tonight, that seems to fit in with the consensus I’ve heard coming out of Empire State political operatives this week. Corwin seemed to be fairly comfortable from the beginning with the idea that she could cruise to victory in a reliably R+6 (or better) district. Her team never took “crazy Jack” Davis seriously enough in the beginning, and focused on running against Hochul. Meanwhile, her Democratic opponent hasn’t paid much attention to Corwin. She’s been running against Paul Ryan for the entire race and pushing the meme that Ryan (and Corwin by proxy) would literally push seniors off a rocky cliff to their deaths.

(By the way, if you haven’t watched that advertisement yet, do so. It’s hilarious.)

We’ll be updating this open thread later in the evening as developments warrant, so stay with us until the hopefully not too terribly bitter end. You can monitor the election results as they come in here, courtesy of Business Insider. Also, if you get bored here, Stacy will also be covering the race live over at The Other McCain.

ALSO: Don’t expect a final answer tonight?

Corwin has obtained a court order barring certification of a winner in anticipation of a close race.

Corwin granted court order barring certification of winner

Jane L. Corwin this afternoon obtained a court order from State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia barring a certification of a winner in the special 26th Congressional District race pending a show-cause hearing before him later this week.

The Buffalo News obtained a copy of the show-cause order Buscaglia signed this morning based on a petition the Republican candidate filed Monday.

Under the judge’s 11-page order, attorneys for Corwin have until Wednesday to serve copies of the court order on the election boards of Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, Livingston and Monroe counties, their sheriff’s offices, the state Board of Elections and her three opponents.

Pending court proceedings before Buscaglia on Thursday at the earliest, the judge also impounded all voting equipment and enjoined the canvass of paper ballots “except as directed by this court” and “temporarily enjoined and restrained from certifying” the winner pending that court hearing.

Chris Grant, a spokesman for the Corwin campaign, said the court action “is very typical” in such close elections.

Not unusual in NY politics, but definitely a sign that Corwin isn’t expecting a walk in the park here.

UPDATE: From the comments, a live election feed page from the local press.

UPDATE 2: 1% Reporting. Corwin 44, Hochul 43, Davis 12.

UPDATE 2: 10% Reporting. Corwin 41, Hochul 50, Davis 8.

UPDATE 3: 23% Reporting. No change. Corwin 41, Hochul 50, Davis 8, but rural Orleans County, which Corwin needed to carry heavy, has reported in and Hochul took it by a 54-38 margin. Very surprising.

UPDATE 4: With 54% the numbers have tightened a little. Hochul 48, Corwin 43, Davis 8. Sadly, we’re waiting for a lot of numbers from Erie County which is the Dem stronghold.

Update 5: We’re up to 76% and Erie County is starting to come in. Hochul 49%, Corwin 42%, Davis still at 8%. If this slides any more, the Democrat will beat the spread even if you take out the fake Tea Party candidate.

UPDATE 6: At 10 PM eastern, the AP is calling the race for Democrat Kathy Hochul. We’re at 79% at the last count with a 49-42 spread. We still have the injunction if the race is close to count the 8,000 absentee votes, but the margin is nearly 7K votes.

UPDATE 7: At 10:15 it’s still at 49-42. It’s a 5300 vote lead and the revised absentee count is now at 6200 votes. (Early reports were apparently an estimate.) The absentees may break Republican, and there are, for some reason, NO votes reported from Genesee County, which is rural and leans GOP. This may be considered a fool’s errand by some, but the local news staff isn’t buying the AP call as 100% certain yet, so Corwin may not concede this yet.

UPDATE 8: At 10:25 Corwin concedes. Probably the best call. The math was vastly against her.

UPDATE 9: Hochul giving her victory speech. Local news still wondering why Corwin conceded so fast with more than 6K absentees to count and zero votes reported from rural Genesee County.

UPDATE 10: Stick a fork in it. It’s done.