Incumbent Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-Utica, has won a second term in Congress, garnering just less than 52 percent of the vote and defeating Republican Richard Hanna of Barneveld and Otsego.
Unofficial results from the 11 boards of election in the 24th Congressional District show Arcuri received 130,626 votes to Hanna's 120,748. The results, which include absentee, affidavit and military ballots, show the incumbent increasing his margin and percentage slightly from the tally on election night, when he led by about 6,000 votes.
Arcuri declared victory election night, but Hanna declined to concede until Wednesday morning, when he held a media conference in Utica.
``As a first-time candidate who started with nothing, I am overwhelmingly grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I thoroughly enjoyed,'' Hanna, 57, told supporters at the Hotel Utica.
Later, in an interview with The Daily Star, he said he may run again in 2010, having come close on his first political outing.
``I'm not ruling it out, but it's nothing I have to decide right away,'' he said. ``I've just spent about $650,000 of my own money and a year of my life on this, but I've learned a lot and I'm glad I did it.''
Hanna said he called Arcuri to congratulate him Wednesday.
Arcuri was involved in a whirlwind of conferences Wednesday, as Democrats, who increased their congressional majorities substantially in this year's election, prepare for the next session.
He said he was focused on the tasks ahead, including efforts to defeat the proposed NYRI power line and a push for universal health care.
``I believe President-elect Obama is a consensus builder and the new administration is going to learn from what happened with the Clinton administration,'' he said. ``They're not going to just come out a with a plan. They're going to involve a lot of people in the process, so we know what we're getting and working on it together.''
The runaway costs of the American health care system are a significant part of the current economic crisis, he said.
``When we were talking today about how to help the automakers, I was thinking the best way is through health care reform ... We need universal health care. It would help them and save us money, as a nation,'' he said, noting that Toyota has far lower costs per worker than General Motors.
Asked what he'd most like to focus on in the next year, Arcuri said stopping the proposed 190-mile-long power line that would run from Marcy to New Windsor.
``I think we have to prevent further federal involvement in that project and stop it,'' he said.
Arcuri, 49, won election two years ago in the Republican-leaning district, defeating former Republican state Sen. Raymond Meier to succeed retiring Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New Hartford.